Since long, wheat is considered to be of high importance in human nutrition and food processing industry. It can be processed into wide variety of food products such as bread, baked goods, pasta, noodles, and many more. Wheat protein is one of the high quality plant-based proteins with low carbohydrates. It is used as a dietary supplement and offers additional benefits over animal-derived proteins. Growing population opting for meat-free diets is highly impacting the consumption of wheat protein in the recent years. There are four product types of wheat protein such as wheat gluten, wheat protein isolate, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and textured wheat protein.
Wheat Gluten: It is made by extracting all the gluten from wheat and leaving behind the starch. Popular among vegan and vegetarian, wheat gluten is an alternative to meat or animal protein. Seitan is a popular product of wheat gluten, water, and spices which offers high protein and low carbohydrates. The wheat gluten has been gaining increasing popularity in many Asian cuisines and in mimicking meats such as chicken and beef. Owing to high nutritive value, consumption of wheat gluten is rising among sportsmen and health conscious population as a way to enhance their muscle and strength. It has also been linked to reducing the risk of diabetes and promoting ideal weight of an individual.
Wheat Protein Isolate: It is prepared by removing starch from the wheat and drying the protein fraction for its viscoelastic properties. Wheat protein isolate has higher solubility, foaming, fat absorption, water holding, emulsifying capacities over other commercial proteins. With increasing vegetarian lifestyle and awareness of plant-based proteins, wheat protein isolate is used in many food products such as ice creams, cookies, muffins, and hamburger patties. It is also used in bread dough to enhance the chewiness and other properties, and as an additive in non-wheat flours such as Almond flour.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: It is derived by hydrolysis of wheat germ which include acidic, alkaline, and enzymatic process. Hydrolyzed wheat protein is mainly adopted for its cosmetic application especially in repairing and thickening damaged hair, and to add shine and manageability. Several studies have shown that hydrolyzed wheat protein has low molecular weight, gets easily absorbed into the inner fibers of the hair, and improves its tensile properties. Further, it increases hydration, protects the hair cuticles, enhance elasticity, and adds conditioning effects. Adoption of hydrolyzed wheat protein is also increasing in skin care products. It has shown to minimize pores, nourishes the skin, provides balanced moisture, and has wide application in facial cleansers, serums, toners, gels, and lotions.
Textured Wheat Protein: In the recent time, textured wheat protein has become one of the highly versatile ingredients in vegetarian products. It is also used to enhance poultry, meat, and seafood. Products made from textured wheat protein has high protein content, imparts neutral flavor and easily replicates the appearance and texture of meat. It is also shown to have more functional properties than other textured vegetable proteins.
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