Building UK capability to deliver innovative alternative proteins

Extrusion equipment

This innovative project aims to revolutionise the UK's textured vegetable protein (TVP) industry. The global TVP market is large, valued at £1.4 billion in 2022. However, it primarily relies on processed protein isolates from soy, peas, and wheat. These ingredients potentially caused challenges in the UK due to their overseas importation and linked with monocropping, deforestation, vast air miles, and limited dietary diversity.

TVP production depends on extrusion, a low-emission process that needs primarily protein concentrates/isolates with good protein-protein bonding complexes and texturizing properties (fibrils formation) during processing. The capacity for extrusion in the UK is largely limited, only two established TVP manufacturers. This has led to a market full of products that are of poor quality (taste and texture), which are also expensive, lack diversity, carry high environmental burden, susceptible to supply chain fragility, and consequently, limit widespread societal adoption.

Our consortium, which includes the University of Leeds (protein and analysis experts), SPG Innovation (food R&D experts), and Baker Perkins (extrusion and process technology experts), will address this challenge by utilizing less processed or unprocessed, more sustainable ingredients, such as whole lentils, fava beans, and industrial by-products (e.g., brewers' spent grains). We are determined to advance extrusion techniques, explore innovative pre-conditioning methods, and investigate alternative technologies (e.g., high intensity mixing) to enhance the appearance, taste, and texture of TVPs.

By using materials from UK-based farmers and producers, a sustainable and resilient food system will be created. Nutritional quality of products, both before and after processing will be thoroughly test and understood, to ensure they are as good as, or better than, the ones of original versions.

If these methods are feasible, the products produced will be sustainable, circular resilient, and healthy local food sources suitable wider societal adoption. This could lead more people to buy TVP and help the UK achieve its carbon-zero policy and improve public health.


  • Improved supply-chain security
  • Improved UK capacity to deliver plant-based foods
  • Reduced carbon footprint of foods
  • Import reduction
  • Improved nutrition via new protein sources and reduced meat consumption

Publications and outputs