PPIC research will be interdisciplinary, collaborative, and innovative across labs, institutions, and centers nationally and internationally. The interdisciplinary research will focus on industry-identified challenges and opportunities, working all the way from breeding to processing, formulation and marketing of plant protein ingredients and products.
Consumers are demanding sustainably sourced plant proteins in their diet. Accordingly, food producers are seeking nutritious, functional, and non-allergenic protein ingredients to incorporate in various food products. Therefore, the demonstration of equivalent or superior/new functionality of novel plant proteins compared to existing alternatives is essential to both the food industry and the consumer. However, there is limited consumer and producer knowledge of plant proteins other than soy protein. Food producers are seeking information on the nutritional, physiological, flavor, and functional characteristics of plant proteins. There is a need to understand how these novel proteins can partially or wholly replace traditional protein ingredients, and replace unfamiliar ingredients, in various common and unique applications, to deliver optimal acceptability, nutrition and functionality. Ingredient producers are also seeking to valorize by-products by utilizing current processing streams, reducing cost by improving efficiency, enhancing functionality through unique processing, finding a unique and a competitive place in the market, and utilizing all possible resources to expand the overall ingredients supply.
An initial steering committee for the PPIC summarized challenges and opportunities based on industry feedback and developed a list of research priorities. These priorities are listed here: Research Priorities
Also summarized here are current projects related to the mission of the center: Current Research Projects.