Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

Flavor Enhancer


Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) is used as a flavor enhancer in soups, instant noodles, broths and dips. It may also be added to chips and other snacks. HVP may be added to processed meats like hotdogs, as well. HVP obtained from enzymatic degradation of vegetable proteins (typically soy proteins) contains aromatic substances that impart a beef-like flavor to foods.

Other use and industries


Health effects

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is used in place of monosodium glutamate. Proteins from natural vegetable sources are broken down to release glutamic acid/glutamate, which in solution combines with sodium salt to produce monosodium glutamate (MSG). The resulting mixture of amino acids and protein fragments can contain 10-30% monosodium glutamate. Consumption of MSG or HVP can lead to the occurrence of headaches. The only way to avoid these headaches is to avoid eating foods with MSG or HVP. HVP produced by acid hydrolysis of soy products may also contain a cancer-causing substance, 3-monochloropropane-1,2 diol (3MCPD). In the last couple of years, the USFDA has advised food companies to recall products containing HVP since HVP produced by a food flavor company was responsible for an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning in foodstuffs. Although ADI values for human intake of HVP have not been determined, studies on rats suggest that 0.87 mg/kg body weight / day be recommended as the ADI for human intake as well. Since this amount is likely to be exceeded with the consumption of one or more packaged foods per day, it is best to avoid products that contain this additive. Food labels that state 'No added MSG' or 'natural flavoring' or 'nature-identical flavoring' may indicate the presence of HVP and thus mask the fact that the food contains HVP and therefore MSG.


Vegetable proteins are partially broken down using acids or alkali or pancreatic enzymes to obtain HVP.
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