ACG’s CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IN FOOD TOURISM AND LEISURE (CoEFTL) JOINS 13.9M€ EU PROJECT “LIKE A PRO” TO MAINSTREAM ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
The LIKE-A-PRO project (No. 101083961), funded by the European Union under the call “HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-07” started officially on November 1, 2022. The project coordinated by the technological center CTIC CITA (Spain) brings together key representatives along the entire alternative edible protein value chain (protein producers, ingredient & product developers, culinary centers, food clusters), scientists and market & communication experts and European consumers in a cross-disciplinary consortium (42 entities in 17 countries). ACG’s CoEFTL plays a vital role in the consortium, being responsible for the organization of a “Living Lab” on its premises, whereby consumers will have the chance to test and evaluate several food recipes based on alternative proteins.
European consumers show an increasing interest in alternative protein food products as viable substitutes for conventional animal-based food. Consumer growing pull for these products is the perfect ground for European diets to become more sustainable and healthier. However, to date, animal-based products are totally key in our diets, contributing to about 67% of the protein intake. Although consumers’ willingness to reduce animal protein consumption is apparent, more effort is needed to accelerate the protein shift. Alternative protein mainstreaming is hindered by the challenges at the product development stage, resulting in a low availability and accessibility of relevant novel products. In fact, Europeans seeking alternative protein food products are faced with limited options in terms of product types, protein sources, flavors, and textures. Currently, the alternative protein market is clearly dominated by soy-based protein products; however, soy is not suitable for everyone, ranking among the 14 main allergens. Added to this is the fact that many alternative protein products are simply not attractive to consumers due to unbalanced nutritional profiles, off-flavors, and unpleasant textures in the final product.
To make a protein dietary shift possible, the food industry must focus on diversifying alternative protein sources and developing new appealing products, this way meeting consumer demands in terms of wider choice and product quality. This is precisely the main goal of LIKE-A-PRO project, which aims to facilitate sustainable and healthy diets by mainstreaming alternative proteins and products, making them more available, accessible, and acceptable to all population groups (from children to elderly, vulnerable groups) and everywhere (across Europe, in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas). This will be done via the development of 16 new alternative protein products with ingredients from 7 novel and optimized protein sources.
Innovative, sustainable, local, affordable, and industrially viable are the parameters that will mark the development of these 16 products, ensuring their success on the market.
DISCLAIMER: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.