According to US regulations (21 CFR 101.9(c)(7))​, protein content (ie. total grams of protein per serving) must be listed on the Nutrition Facts panel, and “may be calculated on the basis of the factor 6.25x the nitrogen content of the food as determined by the appropriate method of analysis as given in the Official Methods of Analysis of the AOAC International.”  

However, the percentage of the 50g daily value (%DV) for protein for brands also making front of pack protein claims is calculated by a different method (PDCAAS or Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Corrected Score), which ‘corrects’ or ‘adjusts’ the total protein figure based on the quality/digestibility of the protein.

This means that two brands which each have 20g total protein (calculated via nitrogen testing) could have different %DV figures if they use different protein sources with different PDCAAS scores (eg. rice protein vs casein).

Impossible Foods, as an example, lists the total protein in grams on its flagship soy protein-based burger as 19g. It lists the %DV as 31%, which implies that it has corrected/adjusted the protein content to reflect a PDCAAS of around 0.816 (were the PDCAAS score 1.0, it would list a %DV of 38% or 19g divided by 50g).

Beyond Meat lists the protein in its flagship pea and rice based burger as 20g, with a %DV of 40%, which suggests no PDCAAS adjustment/correction, and therefore a PDCAAS score of 1.0 or something very close to 1.0.

Plaintiff: ‘Beyond Meat’s lower PDCAAS scores have caused Defendants to​ overstate the daily protein​ value on its flagship products’

According to a lawsuit​​ ​filed last week by Beyond Meat’s former co-packer Don Lee Farms, independent testing found that the average PDCAAS score of the Beyond Burger, was slightly lower than 1.0, sitting at 0.8875.


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