In terms of innovation plant based protein valorisation opportunities on the human consumption market concerns mainly functional ingredients and health nutrition. The growing market for functional proteins food between 2008 and 2010 was close to 6%. It is worn almost exclusively by soy-derived (2.2 million tons) and milk (0.7 million tons). Wheat proteins showed moderate growth of around 2-3 % to 1 000 000 tonnes. Other plant based proteins represent only 30,000 tons. Projections to 4 years are optimistic, with growth of 8% to 10 %, particularly through the development of emerging countries whose imports will increase significantly. Soy proteins represent more than 50 % of total current food outlets concentrated proteins.
The supply chain is structured and mature, but it is an imported product for Europe and France. Alternatives and opportunities exist, including crops such as peas, fava bean, alfalfa crops … or established one as wheat whose volumes increase and for which the functional properties remain to be developed from a technological and nutritional point of view. From an environmental point of view, it is interesting to note that the energy to produce one ton of vegetable proteins derived from wheat is 10 times lower than the energy of a ton of animal protein. In other terms the production of animal proteins requires eight times more fossil energy production of the same quantity of plant based proteins. On soybean (first reference material for vegetable proteins), the yield is a ton of protein per hectare, about the same than for wheat. Nevertheless its functional properties has been much more developed than wheat gluten. By improving the process for wheat, for example, it will be possible to improve as well its functional properties and then to reduce soybean imports from America, which would also have a significant environmental impact.