Sustainable ingredients for the plant-based food market
- Start date: 1 November 2021
- End date: 01.04.2023
- Funder: Innovate UK
- Value: £229,864
- Partners and collaborators: SPG Innovation Limited, Baker Perkins Limited
- Primary investigator: Dr. Alan Javier Hernandez Alvarez
- External co-investigators: Partners: SPG Innovations: Dr Sarah Gaunt https://www.spginnovation.co.uk/team/dr-sarah-gaunt/ Rebecca McDowell https://www.spginnovation.co.uk/team/rebecca-mcdowell/ Gavin Youngson https://www.spginnovation.co.uk/team/gavin-youngson/ - Commercialisation experts in sustainable nutrition. Baker Perkins – Keith Graham and Rob Francis – technology experts
- Postgraduate students: Ruixian Han
SPG Innovation Limited: https://www.spginnovation.co.uk/
Baker Perkins Limited: https://www.bakerperkins.com/
This project aims to address the over-reliance on soy-based isolates which are not grown in the UK and have less favourable environmental credentials.
Non-meat protein can offer nutritional benefits, low and improved environmental impact, improved protein quality and is consumed by vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians globally.
The meat free is a market which is beginning to gain traction and widespread growth is predicted over the next 5-10 years as consumers become more health and environmentally aware. However, the UK market currently lacks biodiversification and relies heavily on the use of protein isolates sourced from overseas grown crops, predominantly soybean. The conversion of forests and grasslands into monocrop farmland for soybean releases greenhouse gases, causing climate change and destroys habitats (GreenPeace). Additionally, the requirement to use concentrated protein isolates adds an additional processing step to the ingredient, increasing cost and reducing environmental credentials.
During this project, the consortium aims to demonstrate that a UK and sustainably sourced protein can be a cheaper, sustainable and healthier alternative to imported protein isolates supporting the continued growth of this market with the UK leading the market innovations.