Alternative Proteins: Could They Be a Driver Toward Healthier and More Sustainable Diets?

In the last few years, the attention toward alternative protein products has been on the rise. This leads to important questions such as, what is their impact on human health, what needs to be done to promote a higher market share of such products, and most importantly, how could alternative proteins be a driver toward healthier and more sustainable diets.

Our LIKE A PRO project has been ideated to tap into this momentum and support relevant actors to further exploit the potential of alternative proteins. A key objective is to drive the transition towards healthier and sustainable diets by diversifying and increasing the availability, accessibility and uptake of alternative sources of protein as well as specific products.

In February 2023, 42 project partners came together for the official kick-off in Logroño, Spain to further detail the project’s next steps. Cindy Schoumacher, Policy Officer at the European Commission, who addressed the project partners, emphasised the need for more research and innovation on alternative proteins. This would be essential in order to increase the understanding of their impact on human health and broadly on society, the environment, and the economy as well as to explore how the dietary shift could happen.

Already contributing towards building synergies, the project kick-off meeting was complemented by a multi-stakeholder event “The Protein Challenge 2050: Building the Future of Food” that brought together Spanish alternative protein market players to get introduced to the project, its activities, partners and expected results.

In three roundtables aiming to capture a 360-degree approach to the challenge, the participating stakeholders received detailed information on how the project will innovate alternative protein sources and products. This was followed up by an exchange on how such products could be best promoted in food environments and at the consumer level.

CSCP’s Arlind Xhelili and Francesca Grossi participated in the last roundtable in a dual capacity as project experts but also moderators of the exchange.

“Consumers are showing a growing interest in integrating alternative proteins in their diets and it’s pivotal to capitalise on such attention and keep the momentum going. This can be as simple as engaging with them to understand what the challenges and opportunities are, and what needs to change in current food environments to encourage the consumption of alternative protein products. This is exactly what our LIKE A PRO project will do“, says Arlind Xhelili, CSCP Project Manager.

Within the project, the CSCP is responsible for the coordination of citizen engagement activities through living labs established in 11 European countries as well as act as a local living lab implementer in Germany. The CSCP will also coordinate behavioural interventions in four different food environment settings.

For further questions and collaboration ideas, please contact Arlind Xhelili.