The European Union is seeking solutions for reducing its dependency on protein imports, while consumers shift from animal to plant-based proteins. As an example, the global plant protein ingredients market is expected to reach more than €11bn by 2025. Currently, 98% of the protein in this market comes from soy and wheat. Soy is mainly imported from non-EU countries (where GMO crops are authorised) and its intensive cultivation causes severe environmental issues e.g. deforestation and land-use changes. On the other hand, wheat protein needs to find a gluten-free replacer. Thus, EU food manufacturers are searching for alternative plant-based sources for their protein-fortified food products, which leads to an urgent need to scale-up the production of plant-based protein from alternative sources.
Quinoa is recognised as an excellent crop with an outstanding protein quality and an amino acid score of 100% for adults. Its production in the EU has significantly grown in the last decade. However, commercial exploitation of quinoa-protein and its co-ingredients is not carried out because of the lack of breakthrough fractionation technology adapted to the special nature of quinoa seeds.
GreenFood50, a Dutch company devoted to the production and commercialisation of quinoa-derived ingredients, has developed QUINNOVA, an innovative dry fractionation technology that allows unlocking the full potential of quinoa. QUINNOVA food ingredients are in line with consumer demands and their functional properties are ideal for being used in tasty bakery, health, sports, vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free applications. The process is environmentally friendly, with a reduced energy and water demand compared to alternative technologies.
The goal of the project is to scale-up QUINNOVA to industrial level, contributing to cover the EU demand for high-quality plant-based protein.