Development of high quality food protein through sustainable production and processing – PROTEIN2FOOD

© Mirko Runge / Saatzucht Steinach

In Europe most protein eaten by people is of animal origin. Most of the plant protein that is used for animal feed comes from soya products imported from South and North America. There would be benefits for both human health and the environment if more of our protein intake came from plant products.

The aim of the PROTEIN2FOOD project is to increase the quantity and quality of the plant proteins eaten in our diet and so have a positive impact on human health and the environment.

Protein sources from legumes, such as lupines, faba beans, peas, and lentils, and proteins from nutritious seed crops, such as quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat, will be investigated. The aim is to develop and market plant protein rich foods having attractive sensory properties, using efficient and sustainable production and processing methods. This will be achieved by adopting a multidisciplinary approach that will cover the full food production chain and include plant cultivation and genetics, protein recovery, production of protein-containing foods, sensory testing, socio-economic evaluation, and environmental assessment.

The Fraunhofer IVV will customize the technical processes for protein recovery for different protein-containing plants. It is important here to optimize the efficiency of the various steps. The recovered protein fractions (protein meal, concentrate, and isolate) must have optimal technofunctional and sensory properties in order to be processed into protein-rich foods. Another main task of the Fraunhofer IVV is to develop a process for producing savoury bread spreads and protein-rich breakfast cereals. Particular emphasis here will be put on product quality and the economic viability and sustainability of the processes.

The PROTEIN2FOOD project involves 11 R&D establishments, 6 companies, and 2 associations from 13 different countries.