Müller's Mühle invests €14.5m in vegetable protein tech

With a modern air separation plant, the company can now produce functional flours with a protein content of up to 65%

Müller's Mühle, a supplier of legume and rice flours, has invested €14.5 m in refining technology for legume flours. With a modern air separation plant, the company can now produce functional flours with a protein content of up to 65%, it says, enabling protein enrichment of many foods. They are suitable as a basis for plant-based alternatives such as meat, egg and milk substitutes, as well as for snacks, baked goods and pasta. The company uses different legume species as raw materials, and processes them gently to preserve their valuable nutrients. The flours are marketed under the ‘SMART Pulses Pro’ brand. They are also reportedly free of allergens and clean label.

From cheese, yoghurt and quark substitutes to plant-based drinks and desserts, the range of applications for milk alternatives is wide. In this area, the company says, lentil-based flours are particularly interesting thanks to their relatively neutral taste profile.

The ingredients’ nutritional profile reportedly enables high-protein positioning and a desirable NutriScore. Thanks to their protein content and structure-forming properties, the concentrates can be further processed into texturates that serve as a basis for meat substitutes. In addition to purely vegan and vegetarian products, pulse-based texturates are also suitable for hybrid products in which the meat content is partially replaced.

The emulsifying effect of the concentrates also makes it possible to replace eggs in a variety of recipes. Legume flours can also act as a base for egg substitutes, such as vegan scrambled eggs.

In addition to protein, the flours provide dietary fibre and minerals, B vitamins and trace elements and, in this respect, are far superior to protein isolates. In terms of sustainability, the flours are convincing due to their resource-saving cultivation: legumes do not require artificial nitrogen fertiliser, increase soil fertility and have a low water requirement.

”Vegan, high-protein, low carb, clean label, free-from – pulses serve several major food trends at once. Moreover, with their low carbon footprint and excellent nutritional profile, they are the ideal raw material for a sustainable diet,” said Uwe Walter, MD at Müller's Mühle. “We are therefore convinced that ingredients based on these superfoods will become increasingly important for contemporary food concepts. From new product development to reformulation, with our new functional variants, we can support food manufacturers better than ever.”