plant rinds
Photo: Adobe Stock
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Building on the company’s heritage in plant-based protein, Archer Daniels Midland Co. presented a range of applications at IFT18, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual conference and exposition. From snacks and sauces to “chicken nuggets” and yogurt-like products, ADM emphasized the wide-ranging ways in which food companies are now able to satisfy consumer demand for protein sourced from plants.

Offering samples of various products, the importance of taste was emphasized by Mark Rainey, ADM’s chief marketing officer. For example, a “plant rind” snack aimed at mimicking the taste and texture of pork rinds was made from expeller extruded soy.

“The format is an opportunity to showcase how to deliver plant-based protein,” Rainey said during IFT18, held in mid-July in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. “The snacks are produced with highly biodigestible protein without compromising on taste.”

The snacks contain 5 grams of protein per serving.

A second platform/product was inspired by potato tots and chicken nuggets as well as what Rainey said was a gap in the bar category — a lack of savory (versus sweet) options.

Packed frozen in essentially a par-based format, the nuggets are conducive to a range of quick-to-prepare treats, savory or sweet. Gluten-free, they have bread-like cell structure and are suitable for products targeting both young children as well as seniors for whom chewing and swallowing have become challenging.

Rainey suggested convenience stores and schools may be drawn to product development built on the nugget platform. At IFT18, the nuggets were served lightly fried with sauce that ADM sees as a potential carrier for protein. Dubbed the “power base,” Rainey said the new technology incorporates protein with less astringency than alternative products and is suitable for soups, broth, sauces, and gravies.

The company also showcased a vegetarian soup stock with 12 grams of protein per serving.

“There is very strong consumer appeal since most veggie stocks do not have protein,” Rainey said.

While generally not disclosing the underlying ingredients in the products sampled, Rainey said ADM uses “purposeful blends of on-trend” ancient grains, sorghum, soy or pea from various ADM subsidiaries.

Still another platform unveiled at IFT18 was dubbed PROPS by ADM. Small propeller-looking snacks, the products are high in protein and in probiotics.

Containing 15 grams of protein per serving and low in sugar, the non-dairy pieces are a refrigerated product inspired by yogurt and suitable as the base for a range of products including low-sugar snacks or more indulgent cheesecake analogs.

He said innovations using the products have offered ADM a way to bring its different divisions together to give customers the ability to pursue one-stop solutions at the company, rather than always purchasing from each ADM segment separately.