Bridge to Research Capacity in Protein Transition- Dr. Zsuzsa Papp (MITACS)

Dr. Zsuzsa Papp, Director of Business Development, Mitacs, Canada, will be sharing her vision on the future of plant proteins at the 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit to be held in Saskatoon, May 29-31, 2019. Dr. Papp will be part of the Panel Discussion: Building the Eco-System Knowledge Capacity during the Plenary on May 31 and will also introduce MITACS at the Research & Investment Pitching Sessions on May 29, a space for organizations to share what they do and build networks with possible contributors. She shares her vision on the protein transition and the role of her organization:

What do you think of the protein transition?

Producing or harvesting meat in moderate quantities can be both economical and environmentally responsible. For example, if you live on or otherwise want to conserve endangered natural-prairie habitat, eating free-range bison makes sense. But to feed most of us and to create food- and nutrient-security for humanity, a predominantly plant-based diet rich in diverse plant protein with a lower ecological footprint than that of cattle feedlots will be necessary. How to meet our amino-acid needs while letting us have a pleasant culinary experience and giving us convenient choices is indeed a challenge.

Two topics seem to need attention: 1. Keeping and exploring traditional knowledge of nutritional plant-based dishes and our natural desire to eat a variety of foods 2. Innovation in novel forms of plant protein-rich foods and successful marketing.

To be successful in the protein transition, both social and technological innovation is needed. Once we have a vision of what is sustainable and needed for the health of our societies, we can act on it while remaining culturally sensitive. Technological innovation will help optimize growing, harvesting, transporting, processing, packaging, reusing, recycling, composting and disposing of plants and the foods we make of them. This will create wealth that we can reinvest in education, health and more innovation to stay competitive.

What role can Mitacs play in the protein transition and innovation?

At Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization, we support collaborative innovation, recognizing the value that researchers in post-secondary institutions can contribute to companies’ growth. We support company projects based on shared interests, shared objectives, and shared outcomes with academia. For example, Mitacs can help address challenges related to: developing novel forms of plant-based, protein rich foods; successfully marketing these foods; the psychology of wanting to eat a variety of foods; and exploring and maintaining traditional knowledge of nutritional plant-based dishes.

Our success derives from fruitful relationships rather than transactions of technology or knowledge. Mitacs listens to industry partners to hear their challenges, then aligns graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as conduits for relationship building and problem solving. Mitacs provides research interns with business skills training for their improved employability and career prospects.

Mitacs can create a bridge between the plant-protein industry and academia, and among industry players and stakeholders in the protein-innovation ecosystem — within Canada and internationally — as we do in other sectors.

If your company needs outside expertise to innovate, if you need to build your talent ecosystem, leverage your R&D budget while maintaining control of your projects, we will connect you, provide matching funding and help attract and retain highly-skilled problem-solvers for your business.


About the 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit

The 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit 2019 will focus on:

  • New Plant Protein Ingredients
  • Novel Plant Protein Process Technologies
  • New Plant Protein Applications

Shifting Gears will be more and more important to meet concerns over future food and nutritional security related to protein supply & demand is rapidly rising on the global and European agenda of governments, industries, and agricultural value chains in view of stabilizing crop yields and a fastly growing population.

Growing more plant protein in Canada and North-America is very important from a sustainability, climate and self-sufficiency point of view. The demand for plant protein ingredients is increasing and there are many economic opportunities. Consumers are also seeking more healthy and sustainable diets and they are increasing their plant-based foods intake. And how can we meet the protein needs of 9 billion people in a sustainable, healthy & environmentally friendly way? How can the food industry tap into growing consumer appetites new foods, tastes & plant-based foods? What is the actual potential for plant protein ingredients to move into the mainstream & gain scale to make a larger commercial impact?

Which processing technologies are needed to improve the texture, taste and nutrition of plant protein ingredients? Is there a need for a global protein research agenda? When so, what are the key elements and how can industry and government across the national borders work together. More info

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