Call for partners: Moving consumers towards more plant-based choices

The global demand for animal proteins (e.g. meat and dairy) is still growing. In order to benefit both the environment and our health, a transition towards diets containing more plant-based proteins is needed. Coaxing the consumer towards more plant-based choices however, is a complex task. In addition, we know little about the optimal composition of plant-based diets for certain vulnerable populations. We are now looking for partners to jointly address these issues.

A complex task, but a lot to gain

The availability of tasty plant-based products as an alternative for meat and dairy, has risen substantially over the past years. Diets that emphasize a greater consumption of plant foods are increasingly recognized as beneficial for our health and for the environment. Unfortunately these alternatives have not yet reached the masses. Moving enough consumers towards a more plant-based food consumption pattern is complex and there is a need for more effective strategies to do so. Furthermore, an important question that is sometimes overlooked, concerns the effects that consuming a plant-based diet may have on the ability to perform physical activities, another important contributor to a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, for more vulnerable populations in recovery, e.g. those who experienced a medical event that abruptly affects physical functioning,  it is still unclear whether plant-based protein sources can optimally support their protein needs.

Effective strategies and optimal compositions

In this project, several strategies to coax large groups of consumers towards more plant-based choices will be investigated. Here, we will mainly focus on the healthy consumer who supports or is involved in sports on a recreational level. They will be addressed through sport events. Nudging strategies will be tested in this field lab setting, aiming at increasing consumer awareness and acceptance. Also digital tools to provide personalised dietary advice will be applied, to stimulate the use of more plant-based alternatives and to study potential health benefits.

To support more vulnerable people in their protein need, optimal compositions of a plant-based protein alternative will be determined, based on amino acid compositions and digestibility. Next, we will study if the combination of an optimal plant-based protein intake and physical activity can help to improve recovery in vulnerable persons.

So if you are looking for ways to increase your consumer base plant-based food products, or for the optimal composition of your plant-based proteins, then join us in this consortium!

Partners wanted

The budget for this proposal is estimated to be 1.000k Euro. We aim for a 3 year trajectory with 1 PhD or PostDoc and for 4 industrial partners, with each 20k€ annually cash and 20k€ in kind contribution.

The above described projects are being developed for application to the TKI subsidy, a Dutch governmental program sponsoring applied research. Each project requires at least one Dutch company partner, but additional partners from abroad are welcome to join. Granted projects receive 50% subsidy funding. The other 50% is contributed by industry partners, of which up to half (25% of total) may be in-kind.

This consortium is open for participation from ingredient companies, end product companies, and biotech companies. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can specify desired topics for research, and provide direction to the research activities. Unfortunately we are not able to reply to solicitations from research institutes or enquiries from students related to this project.