The insomniac princess in the fairy tale knew the power of the pea. These days, the plant protein market is also feeling the might of the little legume.
While soy still dominates the plant protein market, the demand for pea protein is skyrocketing in China, North America and Western Europe, according to a Frost & Sullivan report noted on Fooddive.com. Good news for U.S. and Canadian pea farmers, the top producers and major global exporters of whole yellow peas. The recent boost in demand for peas, however, will alter the global production and trade flow of the crop.
What explains the current pea popularity? An increase in the number of vegetarians and vegans globally, increased lactose intolerance and allergies, and advances in extrusion technology for pea protein processing and extraction, according to MarketsandMarkets. Peas are one of the few plant-based, non-allergenic, complete proteins available. Yellow peas have no genetically-modified strains and are considered an environmentally friendly crop.
And, apparently, the New York Mets love them. The Wall Street Journal reported that the team agreed to be taste-testers for a new, plant-based protein burger made with pea protein.