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Alternative Dietary Proteins


This is an international collaboration regarding gauging people’s attitude towards new foods, the consumption of meat, and people’s interest and thoughts, and willingness to consider alternative dietary proteins in their own diet. The alternative dietary proteins considered are: plant-based proteins; insect-based proteins, myco-proteins, and cultured meat


Low-meat diets are becoming increasingly popular for various reasons, including health-related issues, environmental issues and animal welfare related issues. In order to accomplish a sustainable shift to alternatives to meat, a range of alternative protein sources are being exploited. However, public preceptions and preferences remain largely unknown. Although, trends towards eating less meat have been observed and labelled under different terms in the literature, such as: meat-reduced diets, flexitarianism, semi-vegetarianism or even conscious omnivorism; more research is needed to ascertain consumers' food choice patterns and mechanisms so that an effective transition to sustainable low-meat diets can be achived for those who whish to do so. Due to the overall popularity for meat in diets, the transition to a low-meat diet has the potnetial to cause a profound societal transformation. As such it is essential to know that products derived from novel non-meat proteins mitigate the environemntal and animal welfare concerns. 

In light of the potential sociatal shift towards non-animal based proteins, the consumer preferences towards a range of non-meat dietary proteins (including plant-based, insect-based, myco-proteins and cultured meat) is being targeted in this research. 

Plant-based proteins are well-ingrained in our current society and are a mature and growing market segment. Cultured meat is derived from a biotechnological tissue-culture apporach, which has the potnetial to produce animal proteins on an industrial scale without having to kill an animal. Insect-based proteins are avaialble as a high-nutritional alternative that is currently regulated under the 'novel food legislation' in the EU. Myco-proteins are  fungal cells that are produced on an industrial scale and manufactured into many different shapes, flavours and applications. Myco-proteins are a common sight in many EU supermarkets with a single brand dominating the market.

Phase-1 of this project aimed at establishing an international overview with regards to consumers' perceptions towards new food, the increasing involvement of food technology, environmental issues with reagrds to food, and peoples' willingness to engage with plant-based proteins, myco-proteins, insect-based proteins and cultured meat for their own dietary needs. Phase-1 of this project involved research in: the UK, USA, France, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Dominican Republic, China and New Zealand.

Phase-2 of this project will aim more specifically at cultural and religious differences with regards to peoples' willingness to engage with alternative dietary proteins.


If you are interested in undertaking research on the topic of alternative dietray proteins then please send a detailed CV and brief motivational description to Professor Vriesekoop at:

Research can be facilitated as six-month projects for visiting students/academics, MSc projects, Master by Research projects, or even PhD projects. Funding and eligibility to work or study in the UK must be considered.

Research topics can range from aspects related to the social science related to alternative dietary (non-animal) proteins; the production of any type of alternative dietary proteins; or new food product development using alternative dietary proteins. 

Funding Body


Lead Organisation

Harper Adams University


Lincoln University, New Zealand; Groupe ESA, France; HAS University of Applied Science, Netherlands; University of Valladolid, Spain; Specialised Institute for Higher Education, Dominican Republic; Beijing Polytechnic, China; The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan; Lahore College of Women University, Pakistan; University of Leeds, UK

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