IPS 1 aims to explore and validate the latest cutting-edge technologies currently use on farms, while focusing on developing innovative business models for on-farm processing and no stone will be left unturned. This endeavour has the potential to revolutionize the entire plant-protein value chain. The on-farm processing strategies will prioritize maintaining the nutritional properties of protein fractions while also exploring the composition and potential functionality of the co-products. This comprehensive approach aims to extract maximum value from the co-products and leverage their full potential. University of Turin is the visionary leader of IPS1, and Remigio Berruto from UNITO shares the valuable insights when it comes to IPS1.

1. Firstly, in the VALPRO Path context, what does IPS stand for and what does it entail?

IPS stands for Innovative Production System. Within VALPRO Path, we have crafted 5 extraordinary IPS that will serve as living labs. Our mission is to unlock and promote the utilization of plant protein produced within the European Union, harnessing their potential to revolutionize the sustainability of our diets and both food and feed systems. By transitioning from a traditional animal protein-based menu to a vegetarian one with minimal meat consumption, we can slash emissions by a staggering 54%, reduce water usage by 44%, and minimize soil exploitation by a remarkable 70%. This means that with the same resources that one person consumes in their traditional diet, adopting a vegetarian diet would allow two people to enjoy the same amount of water, energy, and soil.

2. What is the primary objective of IPS1 in enhancing on-farm processes?

IPS1 introduces a ground-breaking concept: processing primary production directly at the farm level. Our goal is to optimize supply chains and bring added value closer to the farm, revolutionizing the industry and paving the way for innovative business models. By processing plant-based raw materials locally or directly on the farm, we aim to provide additional value to farmers, enhance circularity, and boost income. This ingenious approach covers not only the production of materials for various stages in the value chain but also extends to consumption. This model works wonders in cases where the potential of local plant-based proteins can be fully exploited.

3. Which crops and countries will be the specific focus of IPS1?

IPS 1 shines a spotlight on the magical world of lentils and chickpeas (Italy, Denmark), peanuts (Portugal), lupin and faba bean (Ireland), as these exceptional crops and countries hold immense promise.

4. As the IPSs are set to commence, could you provide us with a glimpse of the initial steps that will be undertaken?

The journey begins with the thorough characterization of products available at the farm level. We are dedicating ample time to coordinate and evaluate the most exquisite technologies that can enhance the value of our raw materials. Our focus lies in simplicity, with endeavours such as protein dry separation, the utilization of by-products or co-products, simple drying technologies, cold pressing, and extrusion technologies. We prioritize affordability and improved functionality of the ingredients, even exploring innovative logistic technologies to transport small volumes to other actors in the chain.

5. How do you ensure the reliability of the results obtained from the project?

We have enlisted the support of living labs, small and medium-sized companies, as partners in our journey. By understanding their current practices, we assist them in enhancing their processes for the future. Additionally, we rigorously test new technologies and ideas, leaving no stone unturned in our quest for reliable research. Sharing results among the various IPSs further enhances the exploitation of outcomes and guarantees the reliability of our discoveries.

6. Will stakeholders be actively involved in demo and planning activities? If so, in what capacity?

Our wide network of IPSs allows us to engage numerous stakeholders at every level. Furthermore, our researchers boast extensive connections across Europe, ensuring continuous testing and validation of our robust planning and intended use.

7. How does IPS1 contribute to the development of circular and sustainable production systems?

IPS1 introduces an innovative approach that maximizes sustainability and circularity in production. By ingeniously repurposing fiber-rich by-products into recipes or feed at the farm level, IPS1 takes a giant leap towards a more eco-friendly and self-sustaining future.

8. How will you make sure that the obtained results are disseminated?

We are committed to spreading the transformative outcomes far and wide, as we will actively involve our partners in local fairs, enabling consumers to experience the astounding protein meals derived from VALPRO first-hand.

In conclusion, IPS1 is set to revolutionize the plant-protein value chain by focusing on on-farm processing, optimizing supply chains, and bringing added value closer to the farm. With a comprehensive approach, engagement of stakeholders, and a commitment to sustainability, IPS1 contributes to a more circular and eco-friendly future for plant-protein production.