In conducting each vegan protein powder review, there are three specific criteria for which we rate each product. Keep in mind that this information is purely subject to our experience and may or may not be 100% factual. We do our best and we hope that our reviews give you some level of insight, helping you to make more conscious decisions with vegan protein powder. The three criteria are:
- Ingredients and nutritional value – here we look at the quality of plant-based protein sources, amino acid profile, and use of questionable ingredients, etc.
- Taste, texture, and flavor profile – of course subject to opinion, we shed light on the taste and palatability of each of the flavors that we’ve tried.
- Price and cost value – some products are significantly more expensive than others. It’s good to if you’re getting what you pay for.
Ingredients & Nutritional Review
This portion of the review is rather self-explanatory. But if you’re looking for some details, it’s actually a fairly extensive process.
Right from the get-go, we are checking to see if the product is organic and non-GMO. While some top-tier products on the market are not always organic, these factors are absolutely critical to some consumers. Next, we look at other qualifying criteria, like whether the plant-based proteins are sprouted, or raw, as well as the overall protein blend.
Some individuals are looking for specific protein sources, like organic pea, brown rice, quinoa, and hemp – or a specific combination like organic pea and brown rice protein powder. Those on the paleo diet may be seeking a grain-free vegan protein powder, while someone looking to build muscle mass may be seeking the best vegan protein powders with branched-chain amino acids.
Because amino acids are important components that define the quality of a protein, we take special consideration in determining whether a product has all essential amino acids and the concentration of those amino acids. As previously mentioned, we’re also concerned about the amount of branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs.
After assessing the latter information, as well as other characteristics like use stevia, natural flavors, or other ingredients, we provide a nutritional review rating from 0 – 5. This rating is averaged with the other two review criteria below.
Flavor & Texture Review
We have a very simple process when reviewing the flavor and texture of each vegan protein powder. First, we mix about a tablespoon of each protein powder with about 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk. Because unsweetened almond milk is very neutrally tasting, this very simple combination enables you to experience the raw flavor and texture of the product without any added ingredients.
In doing so, we’re very conscious of how well each protein powder mixes in with the almond milk. If the consistency of the powder remains chunky and difficult to dissolve while stirring it into the milk, often times a blender is needed to yield the best synthesis. Even with vigorous stirring and shaking, some powders never seem to blend into the liquid consistently. This can make some vegan protein powders less than ideal for on-the-go use.
After assessing the protein’s blendability, we then taste each product. In doing so, we’re mindful:
- Textural Profile: Smooth? Creamy? Gritty? Chalky? Soupy? Mucousy?
- Flavor Profile: Earthy? Bland? Bitter? Sweet? Savory? Transparent?
Price & Cost Review
Lastly, we poke around the web or in retail stores to get a gauge for home much the product costs. This can vary greatly, as Amazon.com can be dramatically less than local health food stores. So most of the price review is based on Amazon sellers. But because the price can fluctuate, we often provide a price range. We’ll let you know if the product is typically in the mid-to-high $30 range and mid-to-low $40 range. We also provide an overall cost-value that evaluates each product based on the quality of ingredients and average price next to comparable products.
Again, we give each product a 0-5 rating for overall price or value. We average each of the three criteria’s review ratings to give an overall score. Some products have scored 5 while others hover around 3.7. In short, we hope our system is insightful. And at the very least, you take away some bit of information about specific vegan protein powders and their benefits.