Field pea, or Pisum sativum in Latin, is part of the legume family and was one of the earliest cultivated food crops. A pea is most commonly the green or yellow small spherical seed inside a peapod that contains multiple peas. The pea plant is grown in cool-weather conditions in many parts of the world, including Canada, Europe and Asia.
Peas are consumed as a vegetable worldwide for their high nutritional value and health benefits. Not only are peas high in protein, fibre, starch, vitamins and minerals, but they are also non-allergenic and environmentally sustainable. As part of the legume family, pea plants have the ability to lock in nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it in their root nodules. This nitrogen-fixation ability allows producers to use less fertilizer and replenish the soil with nitrogen, making peas a much desired sustainable crop.
Pea protein is a relatively new, vegetable-based, functional protein ingredient. Pea proteins currently available in the market are sold for use in a variety of food products including: snacks and cereals; diet products (high protein foods); gluten-free and vegetarian and vegan foods.