Between the European Commission (€8.2m) and its industry partners (€1.4m), UCC has been granted €9.6 million for research to investigate the use of by-products from crops such as grain, barley and wheat, which are often left wasted after the production of foods like pasta, bread, and beer. They plan to re-use these by-products for the creation of new ingredients.
The research, titled ‘Smart Protein’, is composed of a collection of EU initiatives such as the leading project PROTEIN (Personalized Nutrition for Healthy Living). This is an initiative to use artificial intelligence in order to assist people in making healthier dietary choices.
Additionally, the planned research will also see into CO2 and the agricultural systems that produce it and see if a retention was possible. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that in large amounts is putting the environment under serious pressure, especially in the melting ice caps and rising sea levels. January of next year will see the research beginning, with the new foods and ingredients expected to be available to purchase by the year 2025.
Project leader Dr Emanuele Zannini of UCC’s School of Food and Nutritional Sciences spoke of the potential for the project.
He said, “Ireland is the last place you’d think of for this kind of change of direction in food production.”
“It’s the black sheep in Europe for its meat and dairy carbon footprint, but I saw that as an opportunity.”