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15th May 2023  Content supplied by: Bridge2Food Foundation

EU-funded Project Paves Path Toward New Era of Protein Sustainability


An ultra-sustainable new protein source made its debut at a meeting of European agrifood industry leaders and researchers in Turin, Italy, on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. During the biannual gathering of partners in the EU-funded Plenitude project, consortium members were served mycoprotein-based “chicken style” filets, produced using bioprocess technology developed to address modern challenges of global protein sustainability. The tasting marks a key milestone toward the ingredient’s upcoming launch in European markets.

Mycoprotein is a highly nutritious food derived from fungi. While mycoprotein-based foods have been available for decades, food ingredient company ENOUGH led the Plenitude project’s development of a new technology that enables minimal-waste production by utilizing renewable feedstock and upcycling its byproducts in a circular fermentation bioprocess. The result is ABUNDA—a B2B mycoprotein ingredient food manufacturers can use to create a broad range of clean-label, nutritious, delicious food products.

Achieving a new level of sustainable and scalable mycoprotein production was only half the battle. We also needed to ensure ABUNDA’s culinary performance and sensory attributes are best in class while making it affordable for consumers,” said Craig Johnston, co-founder and director of strategic partnerships at Enough. “We completed the construction of the flagship plant and are ready for scalable production. The results of today’s tasting, alongside the incredible products of our project partners, show we are truly entering a new era for protein-rich foods.”

The Turin meeting menu additionally featured dishes from global agrifood giants, flavor and fragrance specialists, and leading plant-based food companies, also partners in the Plenitude project committed to developing new-generation meat substitutes using ABUNDA:

  • Global meat company ABP – No Pork Pieces
  • Plant-based meat company Vivera – Shawarma Kebab
  • Flavor and fragrance company IFF – “Beef” Rendang
  • Global agrifood giant Cargill – Plant-based Burger

All menu items were prepared and served by Van Ver Burger, a traveling Italian food truck specializing in sustainable gastronomy.

ABUNDA is one of the best plant-based chickens we have tried so far. Its taste and texture are just like real chicken. We love its versatility in applications, and we can’t wait to have it on our menu,” said Pasquale Digiglio and Daniele Paradisi, cofounders and chefs at Van Ver Burger.

Getting feedback from highly skilled chefs and foodservice operators—as well as consumers—is critical for validating the product and ensuring it can have the impact the world needs,” commented Michael Kilkie, head of culinary at Enough. “We focus on making Abunda so easy to cook that there is not much learning curve for chefs.”

The Technology

Unlike plant proteins, mycoprotein utilizes glucose as feedstock to grow fungal proteins in a fermentation process with strong nutritional and sensory profiles for meat substitutes. The Plenitude project’s core technology is centered around a novel integrated bioprocess for making mycoprotein. In Sas van Gent, Netherlands, the world’s first such facility has been built alongside a Cargill biorefinery producing bioethanol. The plant, operated by ENOUGH, utilizes on-site glucose production, then returns its waste streams back to the biorefinery, where they become bioethanol.

Sustainability

To assess the project’s sustainability, life cycle assessment consultancy Life Cycle Engineering will be conducting detailed analyses of the technology’s resource usage and potential for improving the environmental footprint of modern protein production. Preliminary results suggest that Abunda has a significantly lower environmental impact than animal proteins.

About Plenitude

Plenitude is a 5.5-year, 10-partner, multidisciplinary consortium of European agrifood industry experts established with €16.9 million in funding from the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking. The project’s purpose is to help to meet Europe’s growing demand for protein-rich foods without the impacts on CO2 emissions or biodiversity associated with the production of conventional animal-based proteins. Project partners include ENOUGH, Cargill, Vivera, ABP, IFF, Bridge2Food, Life Cycle Engineering, Lactips, Mosa Meat, and Wageningen University & Research.

For more information and project updates, visit the Plenitude page on LinkedIn.


    

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Date Published: 15th May 2023

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