Novel proteins are the way of safeguarding our planet for the future, despite having to feed the growing population. They are the answer to the question of how to make our food supply chains sustainable. While some are still in the early stage of development, they will inevitably replace unsustainable food ingredients for humans, pets, and aquafarms in the near future. But what are these proteins, and why are they so important?
What are novel proteins?
Novel proteins are any type of protein that does not come from the sources that have dominated our diets for generations, namely beef, lamb, chicken, pork, dairy products, etc… Often, proteins from a less commonly consumed animal are called novel proteins. These can be alligator, kangaroo, ostrich, and many more. bygora takes a different approach to this topic. We consider proteins from less mainstream animals to be “alternative proteins” and not novel proteins, as these have been around for a long time.
For us, the only proteins that deserve the definition novel are sustainable alternatives to traditional proteins. The most prominent novel proteins right now are insects, seaweed, and single cell proteins. The range of novel proteins, however, is growing rapidly. The growing world population is putting great pressure on global food production systems. Environmental and ethical concerns about the way we currently produce livestock are adding to this pressure. This makes it clear that we need to approach protein production differently. Novel proteins are a potential solution. To ensure future food security because they are both nutritious and can be produced sustainably. Novel proteins offer benefits to both consumers and the environment and can be enjoyed by animals and humans as part of a healthy and well-rounded diet.
Why are they important?
According to the UN report “Future prospects for food and feed security”, the discrepancy of input feed material to output protein between meat and insects shows how impactful switching to novel proteins can be. Insects don’t just need far less water, feed, and land. What makes them special is that we do not need to produce food for them. Instead, they thrive on industrial side streams and organic food waste. This not only helps with the cost of producing insect proteins but also aids with another global problem: food waste.
Types of novel proteins
Let’s have a look at the main types of novel proteins available today. These novel proteins are becoming more readily available to consumers around the world and can be incorporated into human and animal diets. As well as the environmental benefits we’ve discussed, they all offer health benefits to those who opt for these alternative protein sources.
While a number of novel protein sources are currently available, insect proteins seem to be receiving the greatest attention. Insect proteins
have a strong history of dietary usage in many cultures around the world. In fact, insects are a part of the daily diet of over 2 billion people worldwide today. Recently, there has been a growing interest in the use of insects as protein substitutes for traditional sources in the western world. Insects are a safe source of protein. As such, they are expected to play an integral part in the rising demand for protein. As the world population approaches 9 billion by 2050, existing protein sources cannot keep up with the growing demand, therefore, the importance of this sustainable source of protein increases.
Edible insects are also good news for suppliers of fish feed. They no longer have to use unsustainable fish meal, as insects have very similar nutritional values. Apart from the protein content, insects are a source of high-quality lipids and healthy fats. Insect proteins may be used in human food, cat food, dog food, pet food, or fish feed, whereas lipids may be used in cosmetics, food, feed, and biofuels.
Algae proteins are considered a promising sustainable alternative to traditional feedstock in animal feed.
While Asian countries have used seaweed for centuries, it is still considered a novel protein for the feeding industries. This type of novel protein is commonly used in the food industry. But it is used also for cat or dog food, fish feed, in the biotechnology industry, and in health sectors. The benefits of macroalgae proteins include high growth rates, saltwater cultivation, and no occupation of agricultural land. The fact that algae proteins are quick to grow and cultivate is one of the top reasons that many companies are researching them as an alternative source of protein.
The nutritional value of algae protein varies greatly by species, but seaweed and microalgae are a good source of amino acids. For anyone who can’t eat eggs or meat, they are a great alternative source of protein. Algae protein is best used in feed, fish feed, dog food or cat food. Digestibility can be improved by proper processing.
Single cell protein:
Single Cell Proteins provide another feasible approach to the problem of protein deficiency faced by humanity.
These proteins refer to refined or edible protein derived from microbial cultures and dried cell biomass. Single cell proteins are protein supplements for both humans and animals. Microalgae, a form of single cell protein, has high omega-3 values, which gives it enormous potential to replace fish oil. Microorganisms such as microalgae, fungi, and bacteria, in general, have a high protein content in their biomass. These microbes can be produced using cheap substrates, such as agricultural waste or wood shavings.
Single cell protein production has the added advantage of carbon dioxide absorption. In addition, single cell proteins have an outstanding nutritional profile. As single cell proteins serve as an excellent and convenient source of many nutrients, they are widely used as fish feed or for pets, including cat and dog food. The most common types of microalgae that are grown throughout the world today are chlorella and spirulina. These are both fit for human consumption and are used as a supplement thanks to their nutritional benefits.
Novel proteins for cats and dogs
Some pet owners confuse protein with meat. But, in fact, protein can come from a variety of sources. Novel proteins can be a great alternative to using meat-based proteins in pet food. The protein content in insect meal, for example, is usually even higher than in meat. Cats and dogs with allergies benefit most from novel proteins. Since they haven’t been exposed to these ingredients before, they cannot have intolerances to them. They’ll still be able to receive all the necessary nutrients without concerns about an allergic reaction. In macroalgae there are antioxidants, which can help boost your pet’s immune system and heart health.
Conclusions about novel proteins
The global sustainability movement is getting stronger every day. A lot of people who are concerned about the environment have pets and will gladly pay for alternative pet food, when they know it is sustainable. Targeting this growing customer group can be a great opportunity for pet food companies to gain customers that would otherwise be loyal to their preferred brand. This is due to the fact that sustainability is more important to this group than brand loyalty. The obstacle that needs to be overcome by pet food companies now is to source novel proteins in large enough quantities. This is where bygora comes into play.
Only on the digital marketplace can companies buy from many different suppliers, have full transparency, and don’t have to rely on one supplier only. bygora, therefore, doesn’t just offer access to novel proteins but enables its customers to keep their business in their own hands.