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GEA talks about advances in alternative proteins as consumer interest in new foods grows

GEA talks about advances in alternative proteins as consumer interest in new foods grows


Arpad Csay, Senior Director, New Food North America, GEA (Image credit: GEA).

May 20, 2024 — The F&B industry is increasingly shifting its focus to protein produced from diverse sources to reduce dependence on animal protein and ensure future food security . In Food Materials First, GEA's Senior Director of New Food North America, he interviews Arpad Csay and discusses how the company is increasing the demand for animal products from food tech companies and startups as consumer demand for alternative protein products increases. We will explore whether it is possible to incorporate unused proteins.

The use of alternative proteins in the food and beverage industry increased by 6% from July 2018 to June 2023, according to data from Innova Market Insights. The bakery sector accounted for the majority of new products, but meat substitutes experienced the fastest growth over the period.

GEA aims to drive future growth and innovation in the meat-free protein space with the establishment of an alternative protein technology center in Wisconsin, USA, which began construction last week. The facility is scheduled to open its doors to students, young professionals and scientists next year, and will be used by food technology companies to “develop processes and de-risk to ensure technical and commercial viability”. We plan to provide a platform.

What are the latest consumer trends driving innovation in the alternative protein space?Csay: Increasing consumer awareness of environmental and ethical issues associated with traditional livestock farming is driving innovation in alternative proteins. I am. This trend includes a growing demand for new plant-based foods, sometimes driven by flexitarians who seek alternative protein sources in place of meat. Consumer interest in sustainability and demand for improved taste and nutritional profiles are also important drivers.

Alternative protein innovations are gaining ground around the world as consumers become increasingly concerned about health and the environment. What prompted GEA to focus on alternative proteins in the US?Csay: GEA's focus on alternative proteins in the US was driven by growing consumer interest in sustainability. Thing. Low-impact protein sources, favorable regulatory environment, and level of investment in the region. Recognizing the potential for leadership in emerging markets, GEA aims to provide cutting-edge technology and process solutions that help food technology companies meet consumer demands.

The GEA Technology Center will host activities such as pilot production of microbial, cell-based and plant-based processes. Serves as a hub for process development, testing and expansion of novel food products to commercial level. Education and training programs for food technology students and young professionals will also be implemented in collaboration with local academic institutions.

What are the challenges facing alternative protein manufacturers that the facility will focus on? Csay: Manufacturers face challenges in scaling up processes and reducing production costs, especially in novel food applications. GEA's Technology Center addresses these challenges by providing pilot lines for cell culture and precision fermentation, helping start-ups develop processes that make them both technically and commercially viable. To do. GEA's expertise can help you improve cell density, yield, and titer, and help reduce growth media costs. These are all essential elements to achieving favorable unit economics at commercial scale.

How will this project help GEA achieve its sustainability goals?Csay: GEA's Technology Center will develop food products with a lower environmental impact that significantly reduce resource use compared to conventional agriculture. By promoting production methods, it is well aligned with the group's sustainability goals. This initiative supports his GEA goal of becoming a net-zero business by 2040, meeting global demand for ethical, sustainable and nutritious food.

GEA's technology center is expected to strengthen the grassroots economy and increase the region's attractiveness for collaborative research (Image source: GEA). The center will help produce protein-rich foods while reducing environmental impact by advancing bioprocessing technologies such as precision fermentation and cell culture. This demonstrates his GEA commitment to innovative and responsible food production practices. Operating the facility using renewable energy sources such as solar power further demonstrates GEA's commitment to sustainability.

What kind of response do you expect from the F&B industry to this project? Csay: GEA sees this project as a pioneering effort to fill a critical gap in the new food ecosystem, and we look forward to receiving feedback from the industry. I hope for a positive response. The industry is expected to welcome support in expanding and developing alternative proteins that will help diversify food production methods and strengthen food security.

What kind of alternative protein advances can we expect in the U.S. in the future?Csay: The future of alternative protein foods and beverages in the U.S. is promising and is expected to grow significantly in the long term. Advances may include increased scalability of production processes, which reduce costs and improve the taste, texture, and nutritional content of products. I also expect that consumer acceptance of these improved products will increase and the regulatory environment will become stronger, leading to broader commercial use and adoption of these foods.

Written by Insha Noreen

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