NextGen Proteins research hopes to fulfil protein supply needs for feed and food
As part of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) scheme, Mowi Feed is participating in three significant EU research projects, including one by NextGen Proteins.
In line with an increasing global demand for high-quality protein for both food and feed, the NextGen Proteins project hopes to optimise the production of three alternative proteins and verify their use in various feed and food applications.
Access to high-quality protein is becoming more challenging due to aspects including a growing world population, resource scarcity and climate change. Ensuring a continuous and affordable supply of proteins for humans and animals is a pressing issue.
But the supply of proteins must be created with scientific lifecycle and circular approaches at its core. The NextGen Proteins project will contribute to improved food security, sustainability and self-sufficiency of EU protein production, with less strain on natural resources and reduced environmental impacts.
Already running for two years, this four-year project focusses on novel ingredients that can be produced in a sustainable way while ensuring that any waste or by-product is recycled.
Mowi Feed’s involvement in this research includes participation in salmon trials, alongside Aquascot and Waitrose. This includes field demonstrations which commenced in December 2021 in Ardnish, Scotland, in which testing took place on how three emerging raw materials (algal meal, bacterial meal produced from wood waste, and insect meal) can be utilised for salmon production.
NextGen Protein’s specific objectives for microalgae, insect and single cell proteins include:
- Assess food and feed regulatory and safety landscape, identify the main barriers for production and application of the three alternative proteins and contribute to future EU policy.
- Deliver three high-quality, safe, nutritious and sustainable protein sources through bioconversion processes, utilising existing industrial waste streams currently discarded or disposed as landfill.
- Demonstrate potential food applications of the three alternative proteins through concept and practical trials in ready meals, bakery products, imitation meat and functional food supplements.
- Demonstrate animal feed application potentials of the three alternative proteins through research and practical trials in poultry and fish feed.
- Explore and facilitate market opportunities for the three alternative proteins and derived products, in co-creation with consumer and stakeholder focus groups, and promote high consumer trust and acceptance.
- Analyse and verify sustainability advantages of the three alternative protein production processes in terms of environmental and economic impacts, enabling improvements of production efficiency, GHG emissions, value chain risks, and land, water and energy use.
- Develop and apply an innovative Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework, that brings together researchers, policy makers, businesses and other societal actors to facilitate consumer acceptance, effectively disseminate project results and ensure their exploitation.
Outcomes from this research will be reported in due course.
The NextGen Proteins project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 862704.