People, planet, protein
Changes in our dietary pattern are of vital importance: less protein and relatively more plant proteins.
In the past decades the ecological impact of our food system has increased considerably. We started eating more and more animal proteins at the expense of:
- our health (too many calories and salt through eating too much meat);
- our climate; intensive livestock farming causes hothouse gases that contribute to the world wide climate change;
- our environment; the production of animal protein has a bad nitrogen conversion. About 10 kg of plant protein is needed to produce 1 kg of meat, which causes the problems with surplus manure in intensive livestock farming. Plus, a lot of energy, water and land are needed to produce meat.
- biodiversity; monocultures for fodder production: recent scandals such as the fipronil crisis and intolerable situations in livestock farming and slaughterhouses.
Many people in the Netherlands are aware of the problems mentioned above, which led to a decline in meat consumption since 2010. At the same time there’s an undeniable growth in the sales of plant protein based meat substitutes. This growth is about 5% per year and each year new products based on plant protein are introduced. A very distinct protein transition is taking place.
Within the professorship “BioBased proteins” we want to develop new sustainable production chains that are focused on proteins that are suitable for animal and human consumption. Eventually we want to create local self-supporting protein chains. Beside the isolation of proteins from vegetable sources through bio refining, we also look at valuable material such as oils, flavorings, antioxidants, and other bioactive components. This creates other value chains with prices that fit the products’ worth and the chain partners’ efforts.
About the professor
My name is Eric de Bruin and I grew up in Friesland, where I developed a great interest in biology throughout my childhood. In 1992 I started studying Biology at the University of Groningen. After my studies I did my doctoral research in the production of functional proteins in recombinant yeasts at the department of Bio Conversion at ATO-DLO (now Wageningen Food & BioBased Research) in Wageningen.
After my PhD I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 10 years at several institutions and companies. During this time I found out that many diseases can be prevented by consuming healthy food. This made me go deeper into the subject of enriching foods with additional ingredients and I started working for a producer of micro algae.
I went on to continue my work at Driven by Values BV, which led to the introduction of several functional protein products that can be used as supplements to prevent osteoarthritis (http://www.eggbrane.com).
During my career I gained extensive experience in innovative management, specifically focused on BioBased & circular enterprising projects. I played a connecting role in these processes between initiators, developers and consumers. My focus is on realizing concrete projects and developing new sustainable food products. Over time I became a specialist in transferring vegetable residues to the food and fodder industry. At the University of Applied Sciences Van Hall Larenstein I want to share my knowledge with colleagues and students in order to speed up the process of protein transition.
Professor Eric de Bruin
Tel: +31 (0)610080933