Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Superfood That "Checks All the Boxes"

A new plant-protein source is coming to market from Israel, and it is grown using a closed-system technique that ensures purity and the absence of pesticides and contaminants. Tel Aviv-based company Hinoman will unveil the new plant protein, called mankhai, at next month’s Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo.

Mankhai is part of the Lemnaceae (duckweed) vegetable family, a wetland plant found floating on water surfaces. Hinoman will produce mankhai using hydroponic technology that uses water, not soil, to grow. This patent-pending process not only eliminates contamination from pesticides and other residues, but it also enables continuous, year-round growing in controlled conditions, with minimal water, arable land, and energy use, the company says.

Since Mankhai does not sprout from seeds, it grows quickly and there is no germination-failure risk. Hinoman’s proprietary, eco-friendly cultivation system utilizes closed-environment, yet economically competitive, advanced hydroponics technology to completely control and optimize the plants’ growth.

The whole-leaf vegetable protein has a superior nutritional profile to superfoods like kale, spinach, and spirulina, including all nine essential amino acids, iron and zinc, fatty acids, and vitamins A, B12, and E. The plant contains over 45% of protein on a dry-weight basis. Plus, the company points out, it has a neutral taste - unlike algae - that facilitates much easier inclusion of mankhai in whole-food supplements or foods like protein shakes, sports nutrition products, and nutrition bars.

The eco-friendly cultivation process can be scaled to industrial levels. The technology can also be used to grow other vegetable ingredients.

Upon being harvested, 100% of the leaf is used, which eliminates waste. Labor costs are also kept to a minimum with the automated state-of-the-art agrotechnology.

The company says mankhai “checks all the boxes” for important attributes:
  • good taste
  • health benefits
  • scalable volume
  • continuity of supply
  • price stability
  • food safety
  • sustainability

It holds the potential of addressing global malnutrition challenges as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Source: Nutritional Outlook magazine

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