Proteins are essential nutrients in the diet of both humans and animals. But producing vast amounts of animal-based foods in order to secure the protein supply has negative impacts – particularly on the environment. That is why, increasingly, other sources of protein such as plant-based sources (legumes, cereals, oilseeds), animal sources (insects, animal cell cultures) as well as micro- and macro-algae, fungi, bacteria and yeasts are being discussed. The Max Rubner-Institut conducts research into these alternative sources of protein.
Currently, 57 percent of global protein needs are met by plant-based products, 18 percent by meat and 10 percent by milk products. But the relative importance of the various sources of protein differs from one region to another. Whilst meat and fish account for a major part of protein intake in Latin America, the percentage in India and Sub-Saharan Africa is low. Looked at globally, predictions envisage a future protein deficit that could be covered with the aid of alternative sources of protein.