Feb 27 2023

Ctic-Cita leads a European project of more than 13 M to design products with alternative proteins

European consumers are showing a growing interest in the inclusion of alternative proteins in their diets as a viable and sustainable alternative to conventional animal-based foods. A survey commissioned by Good Food Institute Europe has revealed that more than half of European consumers have reduced their conventional meat consumption, opting for alternative meat substitutes. Specifically in Spain, the study showed that 58% of Spain's population have reduced their meat consumption over the last 5 years.

Although consumer willingness to reduce animal protein consumption is more than evident, more efforts are needed to facilitate and accelerate this movement. However, the integration of alternative proteins is challenged by difficulties in the product development phase, resulting in poor availability and accessibility of eligible products. Many alternative protein products offered in the current market are not attractive to consumers because of their unbalanced nutritional profile, strange flavors, allergen profile, or unpalatable textures.

To enable a change in this sector, the food industry must focus in the development of innovative, healthy, sustainable, and attractive products to cover the consumer’s demand.

To this end, 14 different European countries, coordinated by the CTIC CITA Technology Center created the 'LIKE-A-PRO' project, funded with almost 14 M€. 

The objective of 'LIKE-A-PRO' is to facilitate sustainable and healthy diets by transforming the alternative protein market by developing high protein products that are more available, accessible and acceptable to all population groups, regardless of location or socioeconomic level. In this matter, 16 alternative and innovative protein products will be developed, including alternative nuggets, snacks, chicken breasts, fish sticks, salmon fillets, tuna sashimi, hamburgers, protein pasta, cooked ham, cured sausage, shredded pork, ice cream and milkshakes, among others. For this, seven novel protein sources will be used, including rapeseed, mealworm, krill, microbial protein, mushrooms, edible mushroom mycelium fermentation and peas.

To achieve this objective, the consortium has the participation of 42 entities, representatives of the entire value chain of alternative proteins (protein producers, ingredients and product developers, culinary centers, food clusters), scientists and communication experts. Apart from CTIC-CITA, the 9 Spanish participants are: the Professional Association of Substrate and Mushroom Producers of La Rioja, Navarra and Aragon (ASOCHAMP); Carnes de Teruel; Naturuel; Basque Culinary Center Fundazioa, the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries, Eurizon, Gaiker Foundation and Alimentos Sanygran.