Cost-effective soy scores top marks in choc-flavoured nutrition bars

By Michelle Knott

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Sensory research from Solae suggests that replacing whey proteins with less costly soy could save money without impacting on the taste or texture of chocolate-flavoured nutrition bars.

The soy specialist compared 20 bars, 16 of which were leading commercial products, while the remaining four were prototypes developed by Solae. In sensory tests with 300 consumers in the US, two out of the four top-scoring bars were prototypes.

It’s important for us to conduct these studies to better understand how the various bars in the marketplace are similar or different and what consumers are looking for in this category,”​ said Colleen Conley, lead sensory scientist and associate science fellow at Solae. “This information allows us to identify optimal sensory characteristics for nutrition bars and discover potential new areas of opportunity for our customers.”

Flavour and texture

“We found that flavour and texture were the most important purchase drivers in this study followed close by calories, protein content and price,” ​she added. “We also found that consumers don’t necessarily distinguish between soy and whey as protein sources, which is a benefit to our business-to-business customers when balancing economics while still delivering the protein content consumers desire.”

“When it comes to food processing, soy protein is a more cost-effective alternative to high value dairy proteins like caseinates, offering protein cost savings and greater price and supply stability,” ​Rosa Sanchez, senior project leader for Solae, told “Most global pricing outlooks for protein project a fairly slow price increase for isolated soy protein whereas high-value dairy proteins can cost twice as much,”

“The optimum level of dairy protein substitution is formula- and bar type-dependant,” ​she added. “Over the years Solae Sensory Science department has played a key role in developing data relevant to our customers. Several consumer studies have shown parity of overall liking between of Supro Isolate soy proteins and dairy proteins in 100 per cent replacement for sheet and cut bars.”

Building muscle

Sanchez also said that soy protein offers similar functional benefits in terms of promoting the development of lean tissue in sports nutrition: “Functionally, whey and soy produce similar results when it comes to muscle development since they are both complete proteins.”

“Soy, whey and casein are the three proteins most widely used in sports nutrition. They each have different digestion rates and amino acid ratios so more companies are discovering the benefits of blending these proteins for sports nutrition products.”

Solae’s Sensory Science department presented their results at the 9th Annual Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in Toronto, Canada. The company is now in the planning stages of a similar project on protein beverages, which will take place in early 2012.

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