‘SA-designed soy proteins for taste and economy’

A South African scientist, Pierre Marais, MD of Prosoy, is now, with his commercial partner, Crest Chemicals, marketing a wide range of soy-derived proteins and nutraceuticals (isoflavones) for all applications in Africa. The advantages claimed for the range are good taste and extremely competitive prices. For instance, Marais says he can produce good-tasting soy milk at 16USc/litre.
Marais has been researching and modifying soy processes over the past 12 years. Prosoy's head office is in Stockholm, Sweden.
Prosoy is now offering soy proteins produced overseas in South Africa and the rest of Africa. So far the proteins have been primarily applied in soy-maize mixes (widely consumed in the lower-income market in South Africa for immune system boosting). Prosoy products – mostly soymilk powders – have also been sold in various countries in the rest of Africa.
Now, Marais and Crest Chemicals are targeting the dairy sector for new products based on soy, or blends of soy and dairy milk. But he says that the wide range of proteins which his company produces is applicable also to meat and many other food areas. 106 different proteins are produced from eight new processes, he says. These range from completely enzyme-active to completely enzyme-inactive, toasted products, and organic versions.
All of Prosoy's production is currently outsourced to four producer  units in Europe. In South Africa, Prosoy has a staff which tailor-formulates products for clients, and a laboratory equipped with, inter alia, an HPLC (high performance liquid chromatograph). The laboratory also does routine protein, fat and moisture analyses.
Prosoy offers a turnkey service to any company requiring soy-derived nutraceuticals (isoflavones) or soy protein products for food applications.
"We initially offered standard proteins as ingredients to customers, but we found that they had difficulty reformulating. We now offer a full formulation service, tailor-making products for each application.
"If you use standard soy isolate, it is like using skimmed milk powder for all applications. We don't believe this can be done."
"In all our market research, it became abundantly clear that soy products do not sell easily because of their taste. Our first objective therefore is to produce soy proteins which are acceptable in taste,'' says Marais.
"Soybeans which have not been processed properly contain unwanted compounds such as oligosaccharides which must be removed because they cause flatulence and other side effects. When these compounds are removed using existing methods (for instance, an ethanol wash), the protein is denatured and the products are sold as concentrates with limited functionality.
"Our prices are lower than those for soy isolates because the nutraceuticals are co-produced in the same plant, and there is no effluent to treat. The isoflavones we make are up to 85% concentration, against 40% maximum concentration from other processors. This allows for encapsulation using smaller capsules. The product is also de-bittered because of the removal of lignins.''
Prosoy: Tel 012-644-1098 or 083-302-7717; pierre@prosoy.se