Plant proteins are gaining popularity as an animal-free alternative for food and beverage formulations. Proteins from pea, wheat, corn, and rice are the most commonly used proteins derived from cereals and pulses. Consumers' desire to incorporate more protein from plant foods in their diets is driven by increasing awareness and perceptions around health, animal welfare, and sustainability. Use of proteins from grains as functional ingredients in food and beverage formulations by industry stakeholders continues to trend upward. While grains represent an efficient source of plant protein ingredients, their incorporation into innovative and reformulated foods is often required at levels that will resonate with consumers or align with initiatives that meaningfully enhance the health and sustainability profile of a food product. Higher incorporation rates of cereal-based proteins in some platforms can be challenging because of unfamiliarity with and lack of information on their functional and hedonic properties in some food matrices. However, several innovative strategies have been developed to mitigate off-flavors and enhance functionality, particularly when grain proteins are used to substitute for animal proteins in animal-free products. This review discusses novel technologies and methods that have been used to enhance the quality of foods that incorporate proteins from grains and expedite innovation across food platforms. Research in this space continues to elucidate the functionality of grain proteins for developing healthy and tasty protein-rich foods.
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