The next generation of smart protein food

Nutritive, sustainable, innovative and trustworthy EU-produced protein alternatives are needed more than ever due to the increased demand for protein sources and the need for more resource-efficient production.

The Smart Protein project is aiming to develop alternative protein ingredients and products for humans which have a positive impact on bio-economy, environment, biodiversity, nutrition, food security and consumer trust and acceptance.

Over the next four years, the Smart Protein project will develop highly innovative, protein-rich food products such as meat, fish, and cheese from plant-based raw materials. The goal is to create products that can be produced commercially and that are better for the environment, our health, and the climate.

Four crops for the future

Legumes – which include lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans – are considered ‘Orphan Crops’ in the West, meaning that they are underdeveloped and under researched and therefore not cultivated according to modern agricultural methods. As such, yields are below their potential – which is something that the Smart Protein project wants to change.

The selection of the four protein crops is based on the preliminary investigation by the previous "Horizon 2020 project PROTEIN2FOOD”, said Dr Emanuele Zannini, Smart Protein Project Coordinator and one of the main contributors to the PROTEIN2FOOD project.


Despite their status as orphan crops, the four crops show high potential for growing in Europe as the climate changes. In fact, even under present climatic condition, production of these nutrition crops could be far higher.

Along with more than 30 external partners, including universities, research institutions, corporations, SMEs, and NGOs, EurA joined forces to carry out the Smart Protein project under the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative. To know how EurA is involved in the project, please follow the link.

 

Author: Shashank Goyal

Dr. Denise Ott

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