Equinom and Dipasa partner to produce a high-protein sesame seed20 May 2021
Israeli plant-based nutrition company Equinom teamed up with Mexican sesame processor Dipasa to create a high-protein sesame concentrate. Equinom will use its AI technology to develop the new variety while Dipasa will process it and deliver it to the market. Called Smarter Sesame Protein, this protein-rich sesame concentrate is primarily targeted at the plant-based market.
“Protein content has been the main barrier for sesame protein,” said César Coello, CEO of Dipasa in the release. Even prior to this partnership, Dipasa has been working to increase the overall quantity of protein in its sesame seeds and currently produces a variety with roughly 50% protein. However, that remains a lower concentration than other plant-based protein sources.
Sesame has been overshadowed by other plant-based sources of protein such as soy and pea, which have a 70% concentration of protein, Equinom said in a press release. By contrast, sesame naturally hovers around 23% protein content. However, Equimon intends to use its AI technology to breed seeds where the protein content is 65% to 70%.
While increasing the nutritional profile of these super seeds will help grab the attention of manufacturers that are looking for solutions to replace animal protein, sesame has a major hurdle: it is a top allergen. Accross Europe, the Middle East, Canada and Australia, manufacturers are required to use labels to disclose the use of sesame in their formulations since the seed poses allergen risks. The United States will require similar labeling beginning in January 2023 following legislation signed last month by President Joe Biden declaring sesame as a major food allergen.
Nevertheless, being a food allergen is not the death knell for sesame as a plant-based protein alternative. Soy is also a major food allergen, but it has managed to maintain its status as a popular protein replacement ingredient.
Despite the disadvantages facing sesame, it is an ingredient that Equinom has developed because it has the potential to appeal to manufacturers for several reasons. Primarily, sesame has a neutral flavor that allows for flexible use in food applications. It is also a very productive plant, producing high yields of up to 2,500 pounds per acre that in turn produce high volumes of oil at 58%.
According to the company, the global sesame seed market size is expected to reach $17.77 billion by 2025. With global manufacturers looking to experiment with taste and texture in the expanding plant-based market, the addition of a high-protein sesame seed has the potential to persuade some to forego more traditional sources of plant-based protein in favor of a novel solution.
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