Development of high quality food protein from multi-purpose crops through optimized, sustainable production and processing methods (PROTEIN2FOOD)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 635727


Aims & Objectives

PROTEIN2FOOD has been awarded funding from the EU research and innovation framework programme, Horizon2020, under the Societal Challenge 2 – Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy. The funding is for five years, starting from April 2015.

The growing world population demands increased high-quality protein-rich food sources, while simultaneously considering human health, environmental sustainability, with more effective and ecological agricultural practices, and increased biodiversity.

PROTEIN2FOOD will address these challenges by developing high-quality food protein from multi-purpose seed crops and grain legumes, through optimised, sustainable production and processing methods.

In more detail the objectives are:

  • to develop innovative, cost-effective and resource-efficient food crops that are high in protein, with a positive impact on human health, the environment and biodiversity
  • to significantly enhance the quality and quantity of proteins from selected seed crops (quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat) and grain legumes (lupin, faba bean, chickpea and lentil), by using a multi-disciplinary approach, involving genetics, agronomy, and food-processing engineering, as well as sensory, socio-economic and environmental assessment.
  • to gain a better understanding of:
    • genetic mechanisms that drive protein formation and accumulation in seeds
    • plant resilience against biotic and abiotic stresses (pests and environmental factors)
    • protein interactions with other food components and their sensory consequences in the final food products



  • enhance the protein production by 25% through new effective breeding techniques and optimised crop management, with an increase of 10% of Europe’s arable land destined to protein-crop production, including marginal soils
  • accelerate the transition in consumption of animal-based protein to plant-based protein in Europe with clear impact on reducing the carbon footprint
  • increase Europe’s agro-biodiversity by introducing novel high-quality crops
  • develop prototypes of new protein-rich foods with a viable market potential
  • improve Europe’s visibility in the area of food processing and technology through scientific publications in high impact factor journals

Cereal and Beverage Science Research Group

School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, College Road, Cork Ireland