A £1 million (US$1.24 million) project aiming to reduce the need for soy imports is underway in the UK. The planet-saving peas are hailed as part of a “groundbreaking” breeding initiative geared toward providing sustainable solutions for the food industry and to break what John Innes Centre calls “the unsustainable soy habit.”
But one challenge is to breed different pea varieties that are tasteless as the vegetable is often associated with off-notes when used in plant-based applications.
Lead researchers, John Innes Centre, is geared up to develop peas without the associated flavor challenges but are still highly nutritional.
As well as delivering environmental sustainability, the innovation project will provide new economic opportunities for farmers to replace soy with the homegrown alternative.
The project will provide economic opportunities for farmers to replace soy with a homegrown alternative.
The ‘Pea Protein’ project is being spearheaded by grass and forage seed specialists and breeders Germinal and is being funded in part by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) via Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), as part of the Farming Innovation Pathway.
Robust testing on farms will ensure only the varieties that meet market demands and the agronomic requirements of UK farmers will be commercially progressed.
The UK needs to find alternatives to soy - three million tons of which was imported last year - due to its links with deforestation in South America and contributing to the acceleration of climate change.
foodingredientsfirst/June 1, 2023