While facing climate change and natural resource scarcity, ensuring sufficient, nutritious, safe and affordable food to a fast growing world population with changing dietary habits becomes increasingly challenging. The protein supply is in this respect most critical, both for human consumption and animal feed. Integration of a variety of new or alternative protein sources from both terrestrial and aquatic origin into new and/or existing processes or products needs to be explored, in order to develop and ensure more sustainable, resilient supply chains, featuring high consumer acceptability by a clean labelling approach and attractive market opportunities.
Proposals shall identify and assess new or alternative protein sources for food and/or feed and develop/validate efficient production and processing approaches to convert/integrate them into high quality, safe, healthy, and sustainable products or ingredients. Proposals shall focus on the characterisation of nutritional values, functional and sensory properties of new and alternative proteins, as well as on the deepening of the understanding of protein-protein interactions for knowledge-based (re)formulations of protein blends that partly or fully could substitute traditional sources. To ensure complementarity with the activities of other projects and initiatives at the EU level, proposals could include one or more of the following sources, for food: plant-based proteins, micro-organisms, terrestrial non-chordate phyla, algae and plankton or sources not deploying natural resources; and for terrestrial and aquatic animal feed: algae, insects and other terrestrial non-chordate phyla, micro-organisms, plankton and possibly other sources whose production is not in direct competition with food production. Synergies in applications for both food and feed are encouraged, in particular for aspects linked to logistical and safety aspects of production and processing, as well as value chains. Activities shall comprise testing, demonstrating and/or piloting in a (near to) operational environment, as well as experimental production, all with a view to paving the way for subsequent commercialisation. When applicable, proposals should address requirements from relevant EU regulatory frameworks, including pre-market approval. Proposals may include limited research activities. Following the RRI principles, proposals will ensure that societal actors work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.