From Crop to Consumption

Equinom receives funding from European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Protein is critical to human health, but the way we produce and consume it today presents many challenges, both in terms of global consumption patterns as well as their social, environmental and economic impacts.

Consumers, aware of the impact a carnivorous diet has on health, animal welfare, and the environment, aim to replace animal products with plant-based protein-enriched products, which explains an increasing demand for clean-label plant-based protein-rich products. However, of the total plant protein produced, less than half is used for human consumption, with just three crops, maize, wheat and rice, accounting for about 50% of the world’s consumption of calories and plant protein.

Regarding the EU, the European Union is suffering from a major deficit in vegetable proteins mainly due to the needs of its livestock sector, being dependent on imports from third countries. In order to put an end to this dependency, the EU is building a strategy to promote protein crops, encouraging the production of protein and leguminous plants in EU’s agriculture. On the other hand, the lack of cost-effective plant-proteins diversity, organoleptic and functional challenges, and low protein content and quality, is holding-back the market. The food industry is therefore unable to satisfy consumer demand for affordable tasty plant-based protein-enriched products.

Via our advanced and non-GMO computational breeding technology, we are able to develop customised crops based on the food industry needs, i.e. with those traits required by the industry. This cost-efficient technology enables to create crops with specific traits much more accurately. On that basis, to meet the current plant protein needs in the industry, we are able to create crops with 50% more protein, better functional and higher nutritional values than commercial varieties.