One of the latest projects in which Innovarum partners – LIKE-A-PRO – strives to answer the growing consumer and food environment demand for alternative proteins making them more available, accessible, and acceptable to all population groups (from young to elderly, vulnerable groups) and everywhere (urban, peri-urban, and rural areas).
In this post, we will take a look at the seven highly promising alternative protein ingredients with which LIKE-A-PRO will develop 16 healthy and sustainable protein products. To know more, check out the websites of the partner product developers as well as stay tuned for the project’s upcoming website.
Microbial protein is made by fermentation of fast-growing, proprietary, natural, and non-GMO strains. The prototype ingredient has high protein content and a high amount of essential amino acids, meeting the human nutrition needs as by FAO/WHO. It has excellent functionality (e.g., emulsion capacity) and constant quality. Production is done in closed bioreactors, using no land and no marine resources while the process is circular, as it reuses substrates. This innovative protein is being developed by the partner Calidris Bio.
Mealworm protein contains all nine essential amino acids and is high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre (chitin). This protein is highly digestible and the production process sustainable – among others, thanks to insects’ high reproduction rates and because they are grown in vertical farms using less land, while fed on by-product streams. The development of this protein is done by Ynsect NL R&D BV.
Krill protein concentrate is rich in high-quality protein and contains antioxidant properties. Production of krill protein is sustainable, mainly thanks to highly controlled krill fishing which prevents overfishing. Moreover, the production process is characterised by complete biomass utilization. The production process is led by Rimfrost AS.
Fermented fungal protein
Fermented fungal protein is obtained from fermentation of the mycelium of an edible heirloom fungal strain on pulses. The fermented fungal protein contains all nine essential amino acids as well as nutrients, minerals, and fibre. It has great mouthfeel, texture, and taste. The production is done in a closed platform with low amounts of water and energy needed, being highly efficient, under development by Kinoko-Tech LTD.
Rapeseed protein has a very good amino acid profile and good functional properties (for example, solubility, and foaming). Rapeseed is a local source, as it a widely grown in the EU. It is GMO-free. In the project, an advanced production process is applied, using mild process conditions, and avoiding protein denaturation. Read more following the developer Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Cultivated mushroom protein
Cultivated mushroom protein obtained from mushroom industry by-products, and via innovative processing, maintains nutritionally useful essential amino acids. Mushroom cultivation is done indoors with limited outputs to air and water systems. The cultivation is done by reusing manure and straw as substrate and with minimal water use. Under development by Asociación Profesional De Productores De Sustratos Y Hongos De La Rioja, Navarra y Aragón – CTICH.
Pea protein has a good essential amino acid profile and a homogeneous powder form, suitable for different food formulations. It is sourced locally and is GMO-free. This protein is provided by Alimentos Sanygran
The LIKE-A-PRO project (No. 101083961), funded by the European Union under the topic “HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-07” officially started on November 1st, 2022. The project brings together key representatives along the entire alternative protein value chain (protein producers, ingredient & product developers, culinary centres, and food clusters), scientists and market & communication experts in a trans-disciplinary consortium (42 entities in 17 countries) coordinated by the technological centre CTIC CITA.
The LIKE-A-PRO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101074323. The project kicked off on 1 November 2022 and will run for 48 months, being led by the technological centre CTIC CITA and involving a total of 31 partners and 11 affiliated entities from a total of 17 countries.
 Alternative proteins are those obtained from sources other than conventional animal-based