The potato offers many unique properties for numerous applications. The tubers consist mostly of starch, while about 2% is protein. And what we previously saw as a side stream from production
is today a promising independent product with considerable potential. The potato protein can be isolated, converted, and used as an ingredient in protein-rich products such as plant-based meat substitutes.
The development of the world’s first textured potato protein has been underway since 2021 when we began product development based on the many thousands of tons of potato protein. It is a process that is slowly but surely moving forward. Today, the product itself is in place. Textured potato protein is based on a protein dough that is extruded – a technology that is used to produce breakfast cereals such as Quaker’s oatmeal squares.
Challenge is taste
Others have launched similar TVP products based on soy, peas, beans, or wheat on the market, but the taste has been far from optimal. We want to avoid making that mistake. Together with world leaders within taste systems, we are therefore working to find a solution that, in the short term, can reduce the natural taste of the potato protein and make it attractive to our customers. So far, the feedback from our customer tests is positive, but there is still some way to go before we have the right recipe to launch on the market.
In the longer term, our R&D department is working on a solution whereby the taste is removed even earlier in the process. This is more difficult and might require a larger production setup to see it through to completion.
TVP market trends
Many people have been wondering whether the market for plantbased meat alternatives will explode as part of a green movement, but so far this has not happened – neither when looking at the number of products nor sales.
This is due, among other things, to the extensive problems with taste and texture, prices, lack of consumer confidence in new products, and concerns about greenwashing, as well as a perception that the products are highly processed.
KMC's go-to-market strategy
It is crucial that KMC goes to market with a tried-and-tested product that can live up to customer expectations regarding both quality and price. We already know that we are leading the way when it comes to texture. Our potato TVP has an extraordinary structure which no other TVP can match. In addition, it offers a number of nutritional benefits in the form of amino acids, which in other cases can only be obtained by combining different protein sources.
We can and must reap the benefits offered by our solution. The market has stagnated after too many products of an inferior quality have been launched in too short a time, and therefore it is extremely important that our TVP is made properly if we are to fill the gap that currently exists in the market.
We want to deliver a product that lives up to our own high standards as well as our customers’ expectations. This calls for patience – both on our part and also from customers.
The provisional plan is to optimize the taste and texture of the product over the coming year. We are going to work with external consultants, and test the product in collaboration with selected
customers with the aim of being able to present a finished TVP product in 2023.
We are not there yet. But we are well on the way!
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