Future of Proteins

Meat consumption has doubled worldwide in the last 20 years, while today, larger apports of our calories come from processed food, such as energy-dense food products, fast foods, or convenience foods. As food is our primary source of energy, proteins, and good quality nutrition play a pivotal role in human health. The progressive distancing from nutritious habits and the extreme environmental degradation caused by overconsumption of animal-based proteins, urge us to rethink and reshape our traditional approach to food. However, there are concerns about potential risks of alternative proteins such as diseases during cultivation, possible allergenicity of insects, or even risks for public health are related to “clean meat” or cultured meat and the technologies involved in cellular agriculture.

[Proteins & New foods]: According to FAO, feelings of disgust in Western countries towards eating insects find their origin in the belief that in the developing world, it is prompted by starvation for it is merely a  survival mechanism. However, novel ingredients are better accepted when incorporated into everyday food items. Cooking patterns play a pivotal part in preserving the correct nutritional level of food. With specific reference to proteins, denaturation represents a significant issue, as exposing proteins to abnormal conditions such as heat, acid, high salt concentration, or mechanical agitation may determine proteins to unravel. Given the quality transformation and high temperatures reached to ensure food preservation and convenience, canned products are often subjected to this phenomenon.

[Climate & Earth Regeneration]: Fragmented and contradictory information represents a substantial barrier for consumers to embrace nutritious and sustainable diets. As one of the main challenges characterizing our digitized-open access world, also for information on protein intake and balanced diets risk being instrumentalized in favor of economically viable trends. Access to the internet has increased the potential for everyone to become a nutrition advisor of himself/herself, and the continuous succession of different diets represents a clear example.

Participants will interpret several concepts regarding future proteins and new foods: overconsumption of animal-based proteins, food processing, protein denaturalization, and consumer acceptance. Acquire knowhow to process new foods and ingredients to develop and support sustainable diets.