A shift towards a more plant-based and less animal-based diet in accordance with national and international dietary guidelines is conducive to better health outcomes and greater sustainability. For this reason, various organisations in the Netherlands are steering towards a transition from 60% animal, 40% plant protein intake to 40% animal, 60% plant protein intake. This is referred to as the ‘protein transition’.
The fava bean (Vicia faba L.), also known as the broad bean or field bean, is one of the oldest crops in the world. It is an important source of protein in North and East Africa, West and East Asia and the Middle East. The recommendation to eat a more plant-based and less animal-based diet has brought renewed attention to the fava bean.
The leaves of plants, including those of the sugar beet, contain the enzyme Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase, also known as RuBisCo. This enzyme is essential for photosynthesis and one of the most common proteins on the planet. RuBisCo is a relevant plant-based source of protein in food and can be used as a functional ingredient. Since 2019, Cosun has been extracting RuBisCo protein from sugar beet leaves on a demo scale.