One of the biggest trends we are seeing within the food industry right now is the growing demand for plant-based products. This can be credited to the increasing awareness of consumers, who continue to gain a better understanding of which food products are beneficial for their health and the environment. Another influence that is driving this change is the predicted aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the drastic changes to our lifestyles in 2020 and currently, consumer habits have also undergone a significant metamorphosis. Due to the unavailability of certain food products due to stockpiling, as well as increased time and opportunity to consider what we eat, consumers have begun thinking more deeply about diet and nutrition. Part of this involved considering the implications of our lifestyle choices. People are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of animal farming, which include the production of greenhouse gases, deforestation, defertilization of soil, water pollution, and overall waste of calorific value via grain used as fodder for livestock, which could be used alternatively to provide nutrition to around 3.5 billion people. Realization that our current system is unsustainable and will not satisfy the dietary needs of our world’s growing population has driven consumers to change their ways, and the pandemic has accelerated this progress. Meat alternative sales rose 129% within the first few months of 2020 in comparison to 2019. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
People are clearly interested in alternative sources of energy and protein, but unfortunately, the food industry is still playing catch-up. While soy continues to dominate the plant protein market, the issues that accompany overproduction of a single crop will continue to worsen. This also leads to significant levels of deforestation and the environmental issues that accompany transport of soy products over long distances. Additionally, only 9 plant species account for 66% of total global crop production, despite there being at least 30,000 edible plants. In order to promote biodiversity and sustainability, the food industry must find local sources of plant proteins, extracted in a way that supports a circular business model that will maximize output and income for food processors and producers while reducing waste. If it sounds too good to be true, think again – this is exactly what we have accomplished here at NapiFeryn BioTech.
ALSEOS extracts plant proteins from what is called rapeseed cake, which is the byproduct of the rapeseed oil-pressing process. Rapeseed is a bright, yellow-flowering plant grown in the EU more than anywhere else in the world. Because of its local production and the circular business model of NapiFeryn BioTech, the technology is highly sustainable. It is also very efficient and economical and has the potential to double the revenue for rapeseed processors. Due to the growing demand for vegetable oils, global production of rapeseed (or canola) oil has grown by 89 percent. Therefore, this technology has the potential to eliminate waste while maximizing profit within a booming industry, as well as providing another plant protein to consumers who are starved for choice when it comes to sustainable options.
At NapiFeryn, we realized that the best way to reduce waste was to repurpose unused byproducts within an already booming industry. Rapeseed, a yellow-flowering plant mainly grown in the EU, is primarily used in the oil-pressing industry. Due to the growing demand for vegetable oils, canola or rapeseed oil production has increased by 89% in the last decade. After the rapeseed oil-pressing process, byproducts are left over, which we call rapeseed cake. However, within this industry, there was no technology capable of extracting consumable protein from rapeseed cake- at least in an economically viable and sustainable way. Due to the nutritious, protein-packed properties of rapeseed cake, we were determined to find a way to avoid wasting this valuable resource. Rapeseed protein also has a beneficial composition of amino acids, and also contains phytochemicals that can have positive effects on health. This is why we have developed our technology called ALSEOS.
ALSEOS is capable of extracting food-grade, undamaged proteins from rapeseed cake. It removes the bitter mustardseed taste that previously prevented rapeseed byproducts from being used in human food products. Our technology is also capable of extracting these proteins in their natural and undamaged form. In this process, we have managed to obtain two different products that have diverse functional properties.
NapiFeryn plans to remain solely a technology provider, meaning that rapeseed oil processors will be able to use our technology. This will result in double the revenue for the oil processors, as well as the opportunity for food producers and distributors to expand their product offerings in a direction of growth that the food industry is expected to remain on. This is a significant opportunity for growth, change, and transformation within the food industry, which those involved in both the production and distribution ends of the market will benefit from.
It is time that we start planning for the future and changing the way things are done. Repurposing wasted products is imperative if we have any hope of sustaining our growing population – every year, around 14% of food produced for human consumption is lost before it reaches the market, with even more being wasted at the retail and consumer stages. This is simply an unacceptable model – one that will result in a great increase in malnutrition if we do not change our habits and put our greatest minds onto confronting this issue in every corner of the food industry.
At NapiFeryn, we understand the importance of implementing changes in the food industry, and believe that the biggest contribution we can make is through innovation in technology. While we do our part, we can only hope that others do theirs. Consumers are open to change – it is up to those involved in the production and distribution of food products to pioneer sustainable growth within the industry.