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PROTEIN2FOOD Report Summary

Project ID: 635727
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PROTEIN2FOOD (Development of high quality food protein through sustainable production and processing)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project


Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"Crop Production
During the first 18 months of the project, we have carried out two growing seasons of field trials under Danish, Dutch, Italian and Romanian environmental conditions for screening of the performance of selected crops. These trials have been supported by greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effect of abiotic stresses. Analyses of protein level and protein quality have been undertaken together with specific molecular and transcriptome analysis and characterization of storage deposition (protein, starch, fat). The use of transcriptome sequencing data is currently being tested. Until August 2016, the yield performance of more than 150 genotypes has been evaluated. The field trials have resulted in useful evaluations of the effect of different agronomic practices (date, depth and density of sowing, fertilization). Abiotic stresses on selected protein crops gave preliminary indications on possible agronomic protocols for specific climatic conditions. For the screening of qualitative traits, a methodology based on quantification of 3D internal morphology of the seeds by X-ray micro-tomography was set up, as well as 3D image analysis of appearance, location and type of seed structure.

Protein extraction and fractionation
During the first period of the project, we have analysed the chemical composition of our selected crops and determined the best suited milling and dry fractionation technology for processing our raw materials. We have scaled-up to pilot plant scale which enables us to produce bigger amounts of flours. We have carried out sensory evaluations of the new protein-rich flours and tested their functional properties and the microbial loads. In addition, several process variants to provide native protein-rich fractions from lupin, quinoa, faba bean and lentil by mild aqueous processing have been investigated in lab scale. After process scale-up and full analytical characterisation of the novel protein fractions, we can use these results as ingredient toolbox for the development of innovative protein rich food prototypes.

Food processing
A comprehensive evaluation of plant-protein products currently at the market have been performed allowing the selection for 25 market leader products to be characterised. At the same time, a systematic evaluation of the functional characteristics of hydrocolloids and plant protein fractions in model system allowed to clarify their role and interaction with other food constituents (proteins and starch) at multidimensional (macro and ultrastructure) levels. These results are going to set the baseline for the prototype product development. A thorough understanding is an essential fundament for building revolutionary and environmentally sustainable protein-rich food and beverage products. In this first period we have on this basis selected the criteria for our prototype products and started exploring ingredients and recipes.

Market Analysis
PROTEIN2FOOD has during the first 18 months developed a database for European, Latin American and African countries, containing socio-economic and agronomic variables for the period 1961- 2013. From this database we have identified trends and patterns in production and consumption of crop and animal protein products at global, continental and national (for EU- countries) scales, and contextualised these trends within policy and socio-economic landscapes. We have coordinated with the small-medium size enterprises of PROTEIN2FOOD to identify practical examples of the uses of plant protein products through the development of questionnaires. Consideration of future prospects for protein product production and consumption is an essential part of the project. Consideration of the future has been included within the market analysis. Further, a literature review of consumer behaviour and acceptance of meat substitutes has been made, and preliminary consumer profiles identified.

Sustainability Assessment
As part of the project, we will carry out a sustainability assessment of the food prototypes developed. This shall provide a better understanding of the environmental and socio-economic advantages and disadvantages of novel protein-rich food as well as the potential contribution of novel protein food to improved sustainability on EU and global scales. To make such an assessment large amounts of data need to be retrieved which have characterized the majority of the work during the first period. We have developed questionnaires to collect process data from WP1, WP2 and WP3 partners on agriculture, extraction, and processing of proteins and food prototype production. We have furthermore gathered LCI data from literature on ingredients and composition of already available plant-based protein foods on the market, and compiled FAO Food Balance data and FAO Food Production data into a consistent material flow model connecting EU food intake with EU food supply from farm to fork.

Dissemination, communication & social innovation
To gain increased visibility, credibility, and ultimately increased awareness of the importance to produce and consume more plant-based proteins, the project has developed a communication and dissemination plan. This entails a recognizable project identity (logo and templates for dissemination), communication products (bookmarks, roll-up poster, leaflets), a website and a targeted media strategy. Beside press-releases, the project has been involved in a number of newsletters, articles and communication activities. Engaging in social media as well as producing online materials such as the E-newsletter, are complementing the abovementioned communication strategy, project identity and website. A dedicated Twitter account (@SciFoodHealth) and hashtag (#P2FOOD) have been set up to enhance exposure.
Engaging with stakeholders is beneficial, on the one hand to make sure to capitalise on knowledge not necessarily represented in the research consortium, and on the other hand as a relevant channel for dissemination."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)


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