Enhancing plant-based snacks with crunchy, protein-packed crispies

Protein-rich snacks such as sports bars, muesli and granola are becoming increasingly popular, while the number of people eating fewer animal products is also growing. An adequate intake of protein is particularly important for this group, with protein-packed snacks an ideal dietary solution. Extruded crispies derived from wheat protein are perfect for plant-based snacks, as they are rich in this essential macro-nutrient and give products a crunchy texture, and unique mouthfeel.

Trend: healthy snacking

According to the Innova Consumer Trends 2023 Report, two in five consumers are looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle for improved wellbeing, and for 61%, a healthy lifestyle includes a nutritious diet. [1] At the same time, there is a growing trend towards snacking and eating multiple mini meals instead of the traditional three main meals. [2] So it makes sense that snack consumption is shifting towards healthier offerings. [3] Wheat processor Crespel & Deiters, together with its extrusion specialist Extruded Cereal Products BV (ECP), produces a wide range of extruded products, including the high-protein crispies Lory IsoCrisp, based on whey and milk protein. With the growing number of vegans [4], they’ve also developed a plant-based version of Lory IsoCrisp based on wheat.

Marjolijn van Daalen, Crespel & Deiters’ Research & Development Manager Extruded Products, comments: “Young people in particular have increased their consumption of nutritious, vegan snacks. In this segment, cereals and energy bars are experiencing high value growth. High-protein crispies are a great way to increase the protein content of these bars and make them a delicious, crunchy treat. As protein plays an important role in the human diet, we are always looking for new protein-rich sources for extrusion.”

With new wheat-based Lory IsoCrisp, vegan snacks can be extra crunchy.

Extruded crispies add a delicious crunch and protein boost to any type of bar.

Why is protein vital?

Proteins play an essential role in many biological functions in the body. They support the synthesis of body and muscle mass, and can be a source of energy with 4 kcal/g. They also contribute to many of the reactions and transport processes in the body – either as enzymes, transport proteins or a component of hormones. [5] In order for the body to perform these functions optimally, several nutrition societies recommend 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adults, which means that a person weighing 70 kg needs 56 g per day. [6]

For people who eat little or no animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy, these recommendations can be difficult to achieve. High-protein vegan snacks or a protein-rich cereal for breakfast can therefore play a key role in a nutritionally balanced diet. The daily protein recommendation for active people, such as strength and endurance athletes, is between 1.2 g and 2 g per kilogram of body weight. [7] Sports products with extruded crispies, can help meet this additional need, while imparting extraordinary texture.

Crunchy upgrade for sports bars, biscuits and mueslis

The main feature of extruded crispies is their crunchy texture, which enhances the unique eating experience. Nothing beats the satisfyingly audible crackle when biting into a bar, followed by a melt-in-the-mouth sensation. For sports, bakery and snack products, this crunchiness, combined with an increased protein content, is a real game changer. The new wheat-based Lory IsoCrisp, for example, has 69 g per 100 g, making it the perfect addition for energy and cereal bars, high-protein biscuits and other vegan snacks that need a little extra bite.

Van Daalen continues: “Everybody likes a little treat every now and then, so why not combine it with additional nutrients? Extruded crispies can be either embedded in chocolate bars or coated in cho-
colate. Either way, the combination of crispy crunch and silky smooth chocolate makes for the perfect evening snack after a busy day.”

Muesli and granola with crispies are also a great way to achieve a top-quality protein boost. Additionally, manufacturers can offer the protein-rich crispies in their original form – for example, as crunchy highlights for muesli or consumers who want to create their own breakfast cereal. However, in order to guarantee the desired crispness, extrusion is key.

Extruders can shape raw materials into new ingredients with desired sensory profiles.

Shaping ingredients with heat and high pressure

“Extrusion is very simple to explain: a doughy material, such as a protein-rich premix, is formed by heat and pressure through a die in a food extruder. The resulting product is shaped and can be cut to the desired length. Thanks to many years of experience, our extrusion technology is highly sophisticated. Every parameter has to fit exactly, while the quality of the raw materials must always remain the same to ensure a consistent result,” explains Van Daalen. There are different types of extruders and processes, depending on the desired end product. Crispies are made by hot extrusion – a high-temperature, short-time process in which viscous materials are forced through a forming die. Crespel & Deiters combines protein-rich raw materials with flour and starch, and feeds the mixture into its double screw extruder. For a particular flavour, ingredients such as cocoa powder can be added. Using mechanical and thermal energy, this blend is plasticised with water, cooked and formed into crunchy crispies through a die. [8]

“Extrusion offers the ability to process a wide variety of food products by changing just a few ingredients and processing conditions on the same machine, resulting in different shapes, textures, colours and appearances,” says van Daalen.


Extruded crispies are a great way for manufacturers to add a protein boost to their snacks while taking crunchiness to a new level. Cereal-based crispies, such as the wheat version of Lory IsoCrisp, offer both vegans and active people a high-quality protein source that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Food extrusion is a cost-effective process for the technological modification of raw materials such as cereals or dairy products. This technology promises a new sensory profile in terms of texture, mouthfeel and shape. In particular, protein extrusion offers the sports, health and vegan markets a variety of options to create nutrient-rich and delicious products.

Marjolijn van Daalen, Crespel & Deiters’ Research & Development Manager Extruded Products, is excited about the potential of extrusion to create a variety of new ingredients.


1. Innova Consumer Trends 2023 Report – Balancing Priorities. From: Webinar: Innovation Opportunities in Snacks – March 2023.
2. Zukunftsinstitut: Food Trend Report – Glossar 2023.
3. Innova Health and Nutrition Survey 2022. From: Webinar: Innovation Opportunities in Snacks – March 2023.
4. https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/445155/umfrage/umfrage-in-deutschland-zur-anzahl-der-veganer/; last accessed: 21.04.2023.
5. Elmadfa I. & Leitzmann C. (2019): Energieliefernde Nahrungsbestandteile (Hauptnährstoffe), p. 211-238. In: Ernährung des Menschen, Ulmer Verlag.
6. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/120209, last accessed: 20.04.2023.
7. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthy-sustainable-diets/protein/?level=Health%20professional; last accessed: 20.04.2023.
8. DLG-Expertenwissen 2/2022: Extrusion. https://www.dlg.org/fileadmin/downloads/lebensmittel/themen/publikationen/expertenwissen/lebensmitteltechnologie/2022_2_Expertenwissen_Extruder.pdf; last accessed: 02.05.2023.