Announcing the completion of VALPRO Path’s Exploitation & IP Catalogue — an all-encompassing database of project outcomes primed for post-project exploitation. This comprehensive repository includes a wide array of result types, from tangible assets to intangible elements like knowledge and information, spanning both commercial and non-commercial realms. Encompassing scientific, societal, and economic applications, it showcases our partners’ forward-thinking exploitation strategies and intentions succinctly.

Pioneering Fresh Approaches to Circular Plant Protein Business Models

The advancement of plant protein technologies holds great promise in achieving the goals set forth by the Farm to Fork strategy of 2030. According to Fact.MR, it’s estimated that the plant protein ingredients market will cross US$ 11 billion by 2033 amid the rising trend of veganism and shift towards plant-based proteins. But traditional business models may struggle to keep up with this growing demand and may not be optimised for efficient production and distribution. As part of a collaborative effort, a project is underway to support the establishment of circular plant protein business models. VALPRO Path will forge innovative business models, placing emphasis on multiple pivotal facets.

Responsible Variety Selection

Deploying advanced, high-throughput methodologies in controlled environments, VALPRO Path aims to identify resilient varieties of protein crops. By comparing the performance of pre-selected near commercial/commercial varieties under imposed abiotic stresses, we can determine and cultivate region-suitable varieties through Innovation Production System 2 and Innovation Production System 3 for validation and demonstration. Lupin, pea, and faba bean have been initially chosen across all partner locations for their high value potential. Additional crop species may be included based on the outcomes of the gap analysis and seed availability. Working closely with breeders and national variety evaluation offices, our pre-selection process seeks to identify germplasm with superior agronomic potential. It does so by prioritising resilience against the prominent abiotic stresses relevant to the targeted pedoclimatic regions.

Innovative Technologies Across the Value Chain

VALPRO Path will build upon existing tools and technologies (on-farm, FMIS, post-harvest, processing, supply chain and logistics) to create innovative solutions for healthy, nutritious, sustainable, and circular protein products. The project aims to evaluate digital technologies such as infrared analytics and data fusion for quality tracing of selected protein crops, combined with supply chain optimization and logistics to enhance biomass availability and quality. Various post-harvest processing technologies, ranging from dry separation to robotics, will be tested, demonstrated, and validated by using crops produced in different innovation plant protein production systems (IPS). The obtained data will support the assessment of economic feasibility and the promotion of new supply chain models, ultimately reducing waste and increasing value for producers. These innovative solutions will be added to a knowledge portal on the website, ensuring their accessibility for stakeholders.

Acquirement of Foundational Data for Characterization

All innovation production systems in VALRPO Path will be supported with advanced methodologies to evaluate the compositional, nutritional, and functional properties of plant protein products. Flours, concentrates, ingredients, and final products co-designed through previous project activities will be analysed for their compositional characteristics. Harmonising analytical methods will ensure foundational data to assess the opportunities and risks associated with new business models. The data acquired will support the tracing of important nutrients from soil to fork and enable mass balances and yield calculations. Various aspects such as amino acid composition, protein digestibility, fibre and carbohydrate composition, and anti-nutritional components will be evaluated in line with regulatory requirements. The data collected will determine the suitability of these ingredients for food formulations and calculate their circularity potential.

By identifying climate-resilient varieties, implementing innovative technologies, assessing the composition and environmental impact, as well as nutritional properties of plant protein products, the project aims to drive sustainable and efficient plant protein production. The collaboration among various participants and the creation of a knowledge portal will ensure the dissemination of valuable information and foster the adoption of these technologies across the industry. This project represents a significant step towards realising the potential of plant protein in meeting the Farm to Fork goals and addressing future climatic challenges.