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What is Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein?

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Nutrition knowledge
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein can be found in frozen meals, soups, snacks, and hundreds of common products. It is often used as an umami flavor and has thus been called “hidden MSG”. But what exactly is hydrolyzed vegetable protein?

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) is a simple plant protein that has been broken down into its components, somewhat like predigestion. These components or building blocks are called amino acids. Amino acids perform many functions in the human body. For example, they are used to produce new proteins, such as collagen strips in the skin.

The word hydrolysis means to chemically break down something with water. This is an important chemical reaction, the way the body breaks down food and releases energy. In hydrolyzed vegetable protein, plant-based proteins are chemically broken down by acids or enzymes, releasing amino acids and other components. These amino acids and molecules have pleasant umami properties.

Hydrolyzed Soy and Wheat Protein

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein can be produced from different high-protein plant sources, including wheat, corn, and soybeans, among others. Sometimes they are also named after the source, such as hydrolyzed soy protein and wheat protein.

Glutamate and MSG

One of the amino acids that make up meat and vegetable protein is called glutamic acid. It is an important amino acid that needs to be ingested through the diet and produced naturally by the body. Another characteristic it has become so famous for is its very good taste. In fact, that’s why it’s sometimes called MSG.

Some people call hydrolyzed vegetable protein a hidden source of MSG because many whole foods contain naturally occurring glutamate, including human milk. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, and this product is a powerful condiment that combines glutamic acid, water, and salt.

Despite centuries of use in Asia and insufficient scientific evidence for harm, many people shy away from MSG. Therefore, many food manufacturers use hydrolyzed vegetable protein instead of food flavoring agents such as MSG.


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