GIANT LEAPS towards healthy and sustainable future diets by filling knowledge gaps on alternative proteins

Vos, Paul; Siegrist, Michael; Sözer, Nesli; Clare Mills, E.N.; Brodkorb, André; Örn Smárason, Birgir; Smetana, Sergiy; Sliwinski, E.; van der Fels-Klerx, Ine


Accelerating the transition from animal-based to alternative dietary proteins – the dietary shift – is key to reducing the footprint of our food system in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), energy, water and land use, and other relevant environmental impacts, and for improving the health and well-being of people, animals and the planet. The EU GIANT LEAPS project delivers the strategic innovations, methodologies, and open-access datasets to speed up this dietary shift, in line with the Farm-to-Fork strategy and contributing to the Green Deal target of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. This 4-year project is funded under topic HORIZON-CL6-2021-FARM2FORK-01-12 and started in September 2022.
Achieving the dietary shift in practice is inherently complex due to the diverse set of actors involved and further hindered by major knowledge gaps – scattered across the various alternative protein sources and the domains of health (safety, allergenicity and digestibility), environment (GHGs and other environmental and climate impacts, biodiversity, circularity), and/or barriers to adoption (technological, sensory, and consumer acceptance). The project consortium consists of the key actors and spans all expertise to address relevant knowledge gaps and proactively engages to arrive at optimized future diets based on alternative proteins that are broadly accepted across stakeholder groups. In order to deliver required insights for short-, mid- and long-term decision making and impact, protein sources have been selected for either targeted or full assessment based on their current level of specification. The innovations and improved methodologies combined with accessible and comprehensive information generated for a wide collection of alternative proteins will enable policymakers to prioritise changes in the food system towards the dietary shift based on desired impact. It will also enable value chain actors to make strategic scientific, business and investment choices, and the general public to make more sustainable and healthy dietary choices.