This January, University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland will begin the Smart Protein project, an initiative to research and develop new vegan foods from would-be wasted by-products from the beer, bread, and pasta industries. The four-year project is funded by grants from the European Commission (the executive brand of the European Union) and industry partners such as beer brand Anheuser-Busch, pasta company Barilla, food company Glanbia, and research company Teagasc—which together contributed €9.6 million ($11.8 million) in funding, €8.2 million ($10.1 million) of which came from the European Commission. UCC aims to create a shift in the meat- and dairy-heavy agricultural systems in Ireland by creating foods that capture carbon dioxide instead of releasing it. “Ireland is the last place you’d think of for this kind of change of direction in food production,” Emanuele Zannini, lead researcher at UCC’s School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, told The Independent. “It’s the black sheep in Europe for its meat and dairy carbon footprint, but I saw that as an opportunity.” The first vegan food products developed by the project are expected to reach consumers by 2025.
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