One of the challenges is to overcome the lack of visibility of new proteins in the distribution chain to the consumer says Johan De Connick, Business Development Manager, IAR. Traditionally in retail, these new proteins are placed in stores or specific departments, and this reduces the possibility for the consumer to have a complete view of supply. The challenge is for consumers to identify these new proteins as complementary to traditional protein and therefore they must be side by side in stores.
Another challenge is to promote the acceptability and perception of innovative protein, which can be from vegetable, micro-algae, insects or biotech. Consumers may be reluctant to the idea that processed food products contain this type of protein, in addition to a lack of knowledge of their nutritional and environmental qualities. The French food pyramid considers pulses as starchy food even though it is a source of protein, different from animal proteins which is considered as the reference. We must communicate on the complementarity of these different types of proteins.
These innovative proteins may also be incorporated into food matrices by replacing or improving the functional and nutritional qualities, but their incorporation is restricted by regulations. Thus the scope of their valorisation is reduced, and does not help promotion with consumers.
Consumers would also be encouraged to buy these innovative proteins through better communication on current health claims. Consumers are also increasingly sensitive to the environmental aspect: in this field new protein sources (plant, insect, microalgae, from biotechnologies) have undeniable strengths that should be better highlighted in communication to to this category, which wants to preserve our environment amidst major food challenges: an increasing population plus worldwide growing demand for protein in the daily diet.
Johan De Connick, Business Development Manager, IAR