The five-year project is entitled AlinOVeg ‘Innovating in plant-based food’. Supported by a budget of €11.4m, the French government is providing the majority (€8.3m) as part of the France 2030 actions coordinated by Bpifrance.
The project aims to develop new solutions and products – ranging from pea and fava bean varieties, protein ingredients, plant-based alternatives to cheese, and plant-based desserts – with the ultimate goal of creating a strong and sustainable food sector in France.
“It will provide benefits to consumers in terms of new, healthy, and tasty plant-based products, as well as new species, agricultural practices and protein ingredients to the entire sector,” said Ariane Voyatzakis, head of the agri-food sector at Bpifrance, who describes AlinOVeg as the ‘largest’ collaborative innovation project supported by France 2030 in food.
The project boasts some big-name industry players, including plant protein supplier Roquette, dairy major Eurial, microbial biotechnology-focused SME Greencell, and pulse distributor Agri Obtentions.
From the research and academic sphere, France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) and social science university Université Lumière Lyon 2 are also taking part.
The project will aim to offer products with optimal functional, nutritional and organoleptic qualities, while relying on the development of more sustainable processes. Further, the partners hope to help optimise the value of pea and fava bean crops to benefit farmers.
Key research and development milestones will be set across the five-year timeline with the aim of removing technological barriers along the supply chain.
“Driven by the same collective dynamic and ambition, we are keen to contribute to the development of a whole sector of plant-based sources an to offer healthy, sustainable and tasty solutions that meet today’s consumers and future generations’ expectations,” said Sergio Neves, head of open innovation at Roquette.
“This project will contribute to the current food revolution, in which we are involved, and to the development of a plant-based gastronomy.”