Driving forward the Wheel of Innovation with Pea Texturates

Helle Nedergaard, MSc., Chief Commercial Officer, NISCO A/S. and Laura Gil Martens, Chief Nutritionist and R&D Manager at AM Nutrition will be presenting the talk “Co-creating the Future with Plant-based Innovations- Nordic Insights” at Track II: New Formulations & Ingredients during the  Virtual 16th Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Europe 2020 (13-14 October, 9.00 am – 5.30 pm CEST)). Read the following interview and know more about Nisco, AM Nutrition and their innovations.

Who is NISCO and what markets do they operate in?

In 2018, NISCO was established as a joint venture company between AM Nutrition in Norway and Crispy Food in Denmark, Nakskov. NISCO focuses on producing solutions that create value for global players in the US and Europe. NISCO provides solutions with pea protein for many different applications while meat replacement is doing our major business. The consumer has a preference to replace meat a couple of times in a week with plant based meals which has an appearance and taste like real meat.

North America and Europe are the leading continents in terms of plants based on innovation in areas. In these markets, there is an increasing demand and willingness to pay for plant-based products.

How is the know-how from AM Nutrition and Crispy Food utilized in your business?

A few years ago, Crispy Food in collaboration with AM Nutrition took over processing operations from DLG ingredients, Denmark. By combining AM Nutrition’s long term expertise in peas as ingredient, process optimization and product applications, and Crispy Food’s knowledge in extrusion process, we succeeded in developing good functional products. The collaboration covers the entire supply chain, from the processing of the raw material to the finished extruded product, as well as co-creation activities and product innovation.

We cannot feed an increasing global population only with animal products. Therefore, the market for plant-based is rapidly growing and at the same time there is an urgent need to work on sustainable crops which covers the nutritional demands of the growing population.  NISCO and AM Nutrition are currently developing an increasing number of solutions for supporting the reformulation of meals in the present animal-vegetable protein transition. We also focus on hybrid products.

How are AM Nutrition pea products processed?

AM Nutrition is using air classification to produce different pea products from yellow peas. Our production is environmentally friendly; using no water or chemicals and with low energy consumption. Our main products are native pea protein concentrate, pea starch concentrate and pea hull fiber.  Our products are further processed at Crispy Food production facilities in Nakskov, Denmark.  At Crispy Food, the pea protein is mixed in relation to the different product formulations provided by NISCO. Our main product ranges goes from protein texturates to high functional starches. The level of protein in the product is a driver for product functionality and we keep special focus on that our products are tasty, have the right texture, bite and mouthfeel.

Would you tell us about your presentation at the virtual summit?

The presentation at the virtual summit will be a co-presentation AM Nutrition-NISCO. AM Nutrition has been present in the summit in previous years and therefore we would like to give the opportunity to NISCO to be introduced to this global Protein platform . Helle will introduce NISCO, their vision and sustainable growth in the market of pea texturates and functional pea ingredients , while  AM Nutrition with long experience in R&D work and with partnership with research institutions will share highlights from the work done in the last years and new product developments.

What is your latest innovation?

Both NISCO and AM Nutrition have kept large focus on product innovation and new product applications of pea texturates. We have dedicated large part of our work to the development of hybrid products with intensive focus on reformulation of recipes for different food segments. AM Nutrition has had a close collaboration with NOFIMA and other Nordic Research clusters since the beginning of production operations in 2007. Nofima is the Norwegian leading institute for applied research within the fields of food research, fisheries and aquaculture. Our product development work is high standard, and has been used as the basis for supporting the needs of our customers. Our recent innovations relates to the end of September 2020, and covers the development of seven different prototypes of vegan burgers and “veggie balls”, in which NISCO and AM Nutrition products have been used as meat analogues and as functional ingredients. In this way,  we are able to gain insight on our products, support the customer activities and co-create together with them.

Would you share with us your participation in the FoodProFuture project

Yes, AM Nutrition is proud to be part of this successful project platform. FoodProFuture is a large Nordic project platform which has as a goal to turn vegetable raw materials into tasty, healthy and attractive food products. The project is hosted by The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Plant Sciences, funded by the Norwegian Research council and is running in the period 2017-2021.  Nine national and five international academic partners are involved in the research activities, and fourteen partners from Nordic food industry companies have been actively participating in the project. The project consists of different work packages, life cycle and environmental impact, bio-resources, process technologies, ingredients and quality, market, consumer and innovations, among others. As outcome of FoodProFuture, several peer-reviewed publications and reports have been published and are of open access.

Both at NISCO and at AM Nutrition, we feel confident on that the future will bring large opportunities to further work on vegetable solutions for the food market and extend our network with the food Industry and research sector worldwide.

About the Speakers

Helle Nedergaard, MSc.
Helle has a background as Economist from Copenhagen Business school and from Aalborg University in Denmark.  In the past 25 years, Helle has held leading positions in major global branded companies in food and beverage, having executive experience across industries which is her major strength. Her tasks have primarily been to identify, develop and implement marketing and sales strategies which have created growth in top and bottom line; being, at the same time, responsible for changes of complex processes, which have resulted in increased customer and employee satisfaction.

Laura Gil Martens, DVM, PhD
Laura counts with a PhD in Nutrition from University in Bergen, Norway, post-graduate studies in Food Technology from University in Chile, Santiago, Chile, and a degree in Veterinary Medicine from UNICEN, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Laura has been working in product development of pea products during the last ten years. She has been directly involved in Nordic plant protein platforms, research activities and co-creation with important industrial partners. Laura is also actively participating in the product development group at AMN`s joint venture company NISCO in Denmark


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