Published 23 March 2023
The EU Horizon-funded LIKE-A-PRO project aims to promote the transition to sustainable and healthy diets by shifting promising alternative proteins and products from niche to mainstream — making them more available, accessible, and acceptable to all population groups.
LIKE-A-PRO has set out to:
- Understand what determines consumer behaviour and the necessary food ecosystem governance frameworks that enable a higher uptake of alternative protein products.
- Diversify the alternative protein supply and develop new alternative protein products, increasing the availability of these products in the European market while ensuring consumer acceptability.
- Empower food system actors to make alternative protein products an easy and economically viable choice via their diversified and increased market supply and ensure favourable food ecosystem conditions.
- Ensure that the project developments in alternative protein products and food environments will bring positive changes in terms of health and sustainability of the European food system while remaining in line with regulatory frameworks and ethical requirements.
Why alternative proteins?
At a time when the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss are becoming increasingly apparent, the benefits of alternative proteins compared to conventional animal-based ones are obvious. Alternative proteins can be both plant-based (pea, rapeseed, fungi) and animal-based (mealworms, krill). They include significantly reduced carbon emissions, fewer concerns about the ethical and environmental consequences of intensive animal farming, as well as allowing us opportunities to move away from monoculture farms towards more biodiversity.
Today, alternative proteins are a niche. However, European consumers are showing an increasing interest in alternative protein food products to substitute conventional animal-based foods. The growing pull for these products by consumers is the perfect ground for European diets to become more sustainable and healthier following the EAT Lanced commission’s objective carbon neutral, environmentally friendly, compliant with national dietary recommendations, safe and equitable. This is also in line with the European Green Deal & Farm to Fork Strategy.
However, to date, animal-based products still make up about 67% of the protein intake of Europeans, and 94% of Europeans consume animal-based products on a daily basis, which in the current system maintains both unsustainable and unhealthy practices. Although consumer willingness to reduce animal protein consumption is clear, more effort is needed to facilitate and accelerate the shift to replace animal-based proteins with alternative ones.
This project has the opportunity to speed up the transition towards 1.5-degree life on a European level by challenging the status quo and making it easier for people to make sustainable and healthy choices regarding their diets.
By speeding up the dietary transitions that are already in motion, as well as mainstream alternative proteins to replace conventional animal-based products we can lead to healthier and more sustainable diets. This is a crucial transition for paving the way to a 1.5-degree future and life for Europeans.
The project will publish its results in 2026.
Want to see how your organisation can contribute to the creation of a 1.5-degree life everyone can desire? Get in touch!
Expert, Expanding Agency
Feature Image: Ewa Saks/iStock