Meat substitutes do not appear to be the key to success when it comes to eating less animal protein and more plant protein. But meat substitute substitutes do seem to offer a solution. A new WUR institute will research this over the next 10 years with substantial start-up funding.
Food Process Engineering PhD candidate Ingrid Plant is disappointed. She recently completed her PhD where she got close to the structure of meat with ingredients that fit perfectly in a vegetarian diet. And which are also affordable.
The research will be housed in a new institute
But during her PhD, more and more studies appeared that show consumers are not embracing meat substitutes in large numbers. ‘I felt like I was flogging a dead horse.’ Plant warned her supervisor, who after ‘burying her head in the sand’ for a long time also admitted that a dead horse was being flogged. ‘We went to the Executive Board with a solid proposal to start working on meat substitute substitutes. That soon got the ball rolling. It also fits perfectly within the protein transition, of course.’
Funders were found quickly, and despite the nine per cent salary increase at WU and an end-of-year bonus at WR, WUR was also prepared to chip in. The research will be housed in a new institute – From WUR To Fork – to be launched in January. Plant is now in the middle of preparations for her new workplace, the Food Forest on Droevendaalseweg. ‘There will be loads of nut trees and space will be available to experiment will all kinds of vegetables. We want to see if we can use the meat substitute substitutes to lure people away from meat. I expect the first results within a year.’