According to GFI Brazil, a new species is discovered every three days in the country, meaning there is huge potential for new ingredients. Using these plants in alt-protein products could improve sustainability and boost local economies.
Research will focus on four Amazonian species (babaçu, guaraná, cupuaçu, and Brazil nuts) and three from the Cerrado (baru, macaúba, and pequi). The plants were selected via a study that looked at their technical and economic potential.
GFI hopes the research will lead to the development of ingredients such as defatted flours, protein isolates, and oils, among others. Researchers who receive the funding must carry out their projects within Brazil and complete them within 12 months.
In a recent interview with vegconomist, GFI Brazil’s CEO Gus Guadagnini said Brazil would be “at the center of the most relevant debate of our century: preserving biodiversity and forests such as the Amazon.” He added that this presents opportunities for companies whose business model supports this goal.
While traditionally a heavily meat-eating country, Brazilians are increasingly embracing plant-based options, with a number of alt-meat brands now catering to this demand.
“In Brazil, we are privileged to have vast biodiversity, with the potential to transform native species into sustainable ingredients for the plant-based product market. This research will focus on establishing paths for valuing native species, expanding technological information on them, and expanding the use of these species’ enormous natural potential as ingredients in plant-based products, boosting regional economic development,” said Dr. Katherine de Matos, GFI Brazil’s director of science and technology.