Challenge: How can we encourage the public to consume more plant or alternative protein products?

This challenge is particularly complex and has different possible solutions. Participants who choose this challenge should decide which part of the solution to the challenge they will focus on and why this angle of solution to the problem is the most relevant to them.


Context of the challenge problem:

Cultural aspect:

Insects as food for humans have received a lot of attention in the last few years. They are now seen as a great alternative that can provide the world’s population with the protein they need in a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way. 

Insects as alternative proteins could become a very important part of a sustainable global food system. However, this new source of proteins is challenged by cultural constraints and resistance in the Western world as many Europeans reject insets as a protein altenative. 

How, in your opinion, this cultural prejudice – both in Europe and in Lithuania – against alternative insect-derived proteins could be changed?


A large part of vegetable protein production is imported:

Although plant-based proteins have become one of the most dynamically developing segments of the food production, many of such products are made from soybeans. Unfortunately, most of soybeans are imported from outside the EU. This is unsustainable due to logistical costs and the risk of disrupting the food supply chain, so digital or other innovative solutions are needed to encourage farmers to grow plant protein sources (peas, beans etc.) that could be used for local food production. The sector is facing the problem of how to cost-effectively increase the amount of crops that could be the source of plant-based proteins grown in the country?


(Un)necessity to make plant-based proteins similar to meat:

Much of the plant-based proteins production is focused on meat lovers; the aim is often to produce foods that are ‘instead of meat’ or ‘equal to meat’. From the first glance such goal seems simple and innocent. However, there is a quite big problem behind it. 

Although plant-based foods are usually a more environmentally friendly option than foods containing meat, such products need to be heavily processed and contain many additives to make them more familiar or meat-like to consumers. It is in the interest of food producers to develop less processed foods. Most importantly, it would benefit both nature and business. Therefore, it is necessary to stop processing plant-based foods and to introduce a new strategy (production, marketing, etc.) in order for plant-based and alternative protein products to be accepted by consumers. How should tis srategy look like?


New sources of alternative / plant-based proteins:

Although a number of plant-based and alternative protein sources have already been discovered, there is certainly some more untapped potential in this area. What could be new sources for protein? Why, in your opinion, they could succeed in the market?