Turning the Spotlight on Alternative Sources of Protein

The first FutureFood conference in Anklam showcases innovations in sustainable nutrition

Advancements in alternative protein sources are of critical importance, especially given current food supply and sustainability challenges. Dealing with global population growth, climate change, and intensifying demands on resources will require new technologies, alternative protein sources, and innovative products. Exactly what these solutions could be was the topic looked at by 50 participants at the first FutureFood conference, which took place in Anklam on October 25, 2023. The event was jointly organized by Technology Management North East (a Steinbeis Research Center) and the FEG (the Western Pomerania Funding and Development Association) on behalf of the ZELT “Competence Center for Bio-Economics, Sustainable Food Production and Healthy Nutrition in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania” – itself part of the MaltFungiProtein RUBIN alliance, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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Alternative protein sources – which include plant proteins extracted from lupins and camelina, algae, fungal fermented foods, insects, and cell culture products – offer the potential to reduce our dependence on conventional animal protein and promote more sustainable eating habits. Often such foods require less land, water, and energy, and at the same time they can be rich in nutrients and a highly reliable source of nutrition.

Experiencing the future up close

The aim of the event was to position the nutrition industry as part of the solution when it comes to healthy and secure food and beverage supplies, especially with respect to sustainability, environmental factors, and economic development. To offer plenty of inspiration, Eva Keretic from FoodWorks gave a presentation on Future Food Campus in Hamburg, which included some musical accompaniment with her song We Can Make a Difference.

The gathering was an opportunity for experts, entrepreneurs, researchers, and stakeholders from a variety of areas of industry not only to network and exchange ideas with others, but by doing so, to contribute to ongoing developments in the food industry and explore potential solutions. During the event, actual examples of regional projects were showcased, revealing everything from the “power of algae” to “pulp from sugar beet” – concepts no longer the subject of basic research, but ideas that have already made it into prototype development in preparation for launch on the market. For example, a number of producers demonstrated how they are already transforming alternative protein sources into specific product innovations. The visitors to FutureFood were also allowed to try some of the ideas themselves: Fidesse®, a vegan bratwurst based on sugar beet pulp made by the Cosun Beet Company, or meat substitute products made by the sausage and bacon specialist Die Rostocker, all of which were developed from mushroom proteins based on brewer’s spent grain.

Overall, the first FutureFood conference in Anklam not only provided some inspirational insights into the innovative world of sustainable nutrition, it also laid a foundation for future partnerships and advancements in the development of alternative protein sources. Concepts presented at the conference, as well as the actual examples of product prototypes, serve to illustrate the fast pace of development in the industry and its potential to work together in promoting healthy and sustainable food production with a clear emphasis on the future.


Frank Graage (author)
Steinbeis Entrepreneur
Steinbeis Research Center Technology Management North East (Rostock)

Prof. Dr. Leif-Alexander Garbe (author)
Managing Director
Zentrum für Ernährung und Lebensmitteltechnologie gGmbH (ZELT) (Neubrandenburg)

Heike Fulbrecht (author)
Project Assistant, Enterprise Europe Network
Steinbeis Research Center Technology Management North East (Rostock)