This EU-funded project investigated protein-rich crops in Europe as attractive alternatives to meat – a means to reduce the environmental impact of livestock on the planet and provide farmers with a new source of income.

Meat production consumes a huge amount of energy and accounts for almost 15 % of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, as the world’s population continues to grow, experts say our present appetite for meat is not sustainable. Meat is an excellent source of protein, but it is not the only one. To give European consumers more options, the EU-funded PROTEIN2FOOD project (2015 – 2020) developed new products from high-quality protein-rich crops.

Some of the protein crops investigated in PROTEIN2FOOD, such as quinoa and amaranth, originate from the Andean region of South America. Researchers are working to fully adapt these plants to European climates and increase the amount and quality of protein found within them.

The project improved methods to extract the protein, creating novel protein-rich ingredients for food processing. The PROTEIN2FOOD partner Prolupin, a German SME, transforms lupines, a traditional legume crop, into high-protein compounds for industrial use. A lupine whip that can be used in mayonnaise, as topping, or for producing vegetable ice cream has been developed.

PROTEIN2FOOD was also involved in processing these high-protein ingredients and in creating protein-rich food like pasta, vegetable beverages, protein bars, healthy breakfast cereals and infant food.

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