The future of alternative protein: consumer acceptance and technological advances

In collaboration with CNTA, we bring you closer to the impacts that the ‘new wave’ of protein can generate in agri-food companies.

The virtual event New Food Conference took place April 28 – 29 outlined some of the most important challenges that the food industry must address for the development of new protein sources and their progressive introduction into consumers’ menus. 

CNTA, National Centre for Food Safety and Technology, is a private non-profit making association. Since 1981, the aim of this research centre has been to contribute towards improving the competitiveness and quality of the food sector. Its work is focused on the fields of food science and technology, biology, chemistry, agronomic engineering, food sciences and nutrition.

The New Food Conference, organized by ProVeg gathered global leaders in the alternative protein industry, from renowned food brands, to startups, NGOs, academia, and the political sphere. 

One of the topics covered in the event was about new technological horizons and the connection with the circular economy. Speakers explored themes such as what can be expected from technological advances, and how they will contribute to making the development of proteins from alternative sources more sustainable, efficient and scalable. Some solutions were presented, amongst them high-moisture extrusion or precision fermentation have come in strong from new promising startups.

new food conference

José Luis Cabañero, Founder & CEO of Eatable Adventures, spoke about the “incredibly tasty and mimicable” products that are being manufactured thanks to technological advances and focused on two concepts: the potential of biotechnological processes and, on the other hand, the suitability of linking protein production with another strategy of marked sustainability: the valorization of by-products. A clear example is the use of food by-products as substrates for precision fermentation.

Other topics were discussed, including the development of other plant-based categories including egg products, fish seafood and more and the importance of not only achieving sensory similarity to the animal counterpart but also having a significant nutritional value. This way it allows consumers to perceive it as healthy, in addition to being cleaner.

Additionally, consumer acceptance, clean label, transparency and evidence were hot topics at the New Food Conference. Recent market research shows that consumers are increasingly open to trying new alternatives to animal-based foods. 

On paper, cultured meat would provide similar nutritional profiles to the corresponding conventional foods and would add some advantages over them, since they would not use antibiotics and the production conditions would reduce the possibilities of contamination with pathogenic microorganisms.  However, the evidence on these nutritional benefits and better environmental balances will not be confirmed until an industrial production level is reached after completing the scaling-up processes in which several companies are currently involved.

How will it impact the industry?

All these views on alternative protein sources invite us to imagine a future in which we will most likely see relevant changes. Legislative updates will make way for new labeling regulations and product approvals that until now seemed too futuristic or unlikely at a market level. Given that investment in the development of alternative proteins has not slowed down during the pandemic and looks set to continue, more and more new products are expected to hit the shelves and retail outlets. Will they eventually become established among a more mainstream consumer? Only the future will tell.

The original content written by Inés Echeverría, R&D director of CNTA is available here.


ICEX creates the certificate “Restaurants of Spain” in order to guarantee the authenticity of Spanish cuisine

Spanish cuisine is a central axis in the promotion of Spanish food and wine. Within this framework, ICEX has developed the “Restaurants from Spain” certification program that provides a quality distinction for out of Spain establishments to offer authentic cuisine from this country. 

This international certificate has been conferred applying the principles of objectivity, verification, practicality and transparency. The evaluation committee is formed by the main institutions of the gastronomy sector in Spain.

The main objective of “Restaurants from Spain” is to be an instrument for the support and recognition of restaurant initiatives that are focused on cuisine, guaranteeing the level of quality of these establishments. 

The idea is to establish quality standards and criteria for the consumer who is looking for quality Spanish cuisine, as well as models that can be followed by restaurateurs who may wish to offer our cuisine in other parts of the world.

Last year, an experimental phase was carried out in which 26 restaurants obtained the certificate: 13 of them in the United Kingdom, 6 in Singapore, 4 in China and 3 in Germany. In 2021, the number of certified restaurants will increase and expand to countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, the United States, Mexico and Japan.

The restaurants that have the distinctive “Restaurants from Spain” offer a recognizable concept of Spanish gastronomy based on tradition, quality products and sharing culinary identity in every detail.

The certification will be renewed annually and will provide different benefits for restaurants, such as specialized training for the dining room team, both in gastronomy and in Spanish wines, in order to expand the Spanish culinary offer available on the menu.

The selected scene to officially communicate the “Restaurants of Spain” international certificate to the international public of the sector, will be in “Madrid Fusión”, the global gastronomy congress that will take place in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.

Interview with Iñigo Charola, CEO of BioTech Foods

Credits ©AECOC

We know that behind every startup there is a mission to accomplish and we would like to know a little more about what is behind BioTech Foods.

Recently we interviewed the CEO of BioTech Foods, Iñigo Charola, to get to know the brand better and talk about their achievements, accomplishments and also challenges they encountered along the way since their establishment in 2017.

We also discussed the importance of ecosystems when innovating the sector and the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spain, that although it has improved in the last few years, there is still a significant margin for improvement.

Charola also mentions the necessity of making the Spanish and global food system more sustainable and efficient that will most likely be an outcome of technology applied in other fields such as vertical farming and alternative proteins.

To read the full interview, click here.

Pascual Innoventures launches Mylkcubator in partnership with Eatable Adventures


Pascual Innoventures renews its collaboration with Eatable Adventures for the launch of Mylkcubator, the first global incubation program for technological advances in the fields of cell cultures and fermentation techniques for the dairy industry.

Mylkcubator is the first international incubator focused on the detection and development of highly innovative startups specialized in the application of new technologies for the dairy industry value chain. 

The Mylkcubator challenge

According to the RethinkX report “Rethink Food and Agriculture 2020-2030”, by 2030 almost 90% of U.S. dairy protein demand will come from precision fermentation alternatives.

Solid protein (casein and whey) account for just 3,3% of milk’s overall composition, the 87,75% is made up of water and the rest is sugar (mainly lactose), fats, vitamins and minerals.

The key to understanding the disruption of the dairy is that cellular agriculture only needs to disrupt 3,3% of the milk bottle, attributed to the key functional proteins. 

The incubation program


The program will be launched on an annual basis starting in 2021 and will feature “high-performance” content focused on building strong technology-based startups that provide answers to the challenges facing the dairy industry.

The first edition of Mylkcubator will last 6 months, from selection to the demo day. The goal is to enroll 10 startups, entrepreneurs or scientific projects, with innovative solutions in the cellular agriculture spectrum for the dairy industry within the following technologies: cell based, fermentation based and applied technologies. All the details about the program are available on the official website 

Pascual Innoventures team

The ones behind Pascual Innoventures are Gabriel Torres Pascual, third generation of the Pascual family and director of Pascual Innova; and Sejal Ravji, a biochemical engineer from University College of London and doctor in rheology, director of Pascual Innoventures. Both have impressive international backgrounds and have gained extensive work experience in different fields before joining this adventure.

“The entrepreneurial, innovative spirit is in our genes, it comes from the attitude that my grandfather instilled in us of being nonconformist, dreaming big and daring to take risks, not only with our heads but also with our hearts. This is how Pascual Innoventures was born with a long-term vision and the purpose of giving the best for the future of food. We will work hand in hand with startups that allow us to move into the future” says Gabriel Torres.

In 2020, Pascual Innoventures in collaboration with Eatable Adventures, launched another call for projects, the Plant-based Dairy Challenge, to search for the best startups in the plant based dairy ecosystem.

Visit the Mylkcubator website for more information: 

Interview with Sebastián Hernandez Dugand, Chairman & CEO of Superfüds


We recently interviewed Dugand, Chairman and CEO of Superfüds, a company that is solving distribution for emerging brands in Latin America while helping mom & pop stores to earn more money.

Sebastián explained where Superfüds came from, he talked about their products, the values they hold when choosing products for the store and how they plan to expand with the latest funding received in an investment round. He also offered advice to young entrepreneurs who are starting out in this field and discussed the challenges they faced during the pandemic crisis and how they overcame them. We finished the interview with a look into the future of Superfüds in the next 5 years.

To read the full interview in Spanish, click here.