Cereals are actually rich in minerals

Sweden wants to connect increased demands for plant-based foods to self-sufficiency

Sweden wants to connect increased demands for plant-based foods to self-sufficiency

Innovative projects that boost the agricultural potential of the country

Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, has put the spotlight on agriculture and its potential for innovation. The public body recently revealed that it has disbursed funding to the tune of SEK 25 million (2.5 million euros) to 17 local projects that seek to expand on the possibilities of an ever-increasing demand for plant-based foods.

The country’s authorities do not just shrug at the tide of vegetarian and vegan-leaning preferences of the local population with the quiet assumption that this itself is enough reason to feel vindicated as environmental champions.

We have good opportunities to become self-sufficient in protein-rich crops, but today there is a lack of capacity to take care of, for example, peas and beans on a large scale that are to be used in food,” commented Jesper Orhammar, who is responsible for the Vinnova investments.

Here are 3 of the funded projects

Here is a brief description of three of the beneficiary projects, which show the range of possibilities that even a country like Sweden, not blessed with the most ideal climate conditions for agriculture, can do to re-think agricultural policies. It can increase the sector’s competitiveness and make plant-based diets truly sustainable - by making them locally sourced.

One of the beneficiaries is a study to map skills and resources for utilizing existing raw materials and cultivation opportunities in northern Sweden. Despite decent cultivation conditions, there is a lower degree of self-sufficiency in plant-based foods when compared to the rest of the country. 

The long-term purpose is to support small-scale producers in the Norrland food industry to develop and scale-up production from an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable perspective. The project is led by the Luleå University of Technology.

In the Swedish market today, plant-based products are largely made from imported soy. The fava bean has so far been underused in the food sector, but interest is increasing due to its high protein content and suitability for cultivation in Sweden. 

So, there is a project that seeks to produce meat and dairy-like goods that consumers like from locally grown fava beans. The process covers the steps from the choice of bean variety to the commercialization of the end product. The project is led by Havredals biodevelop AB.

As a source of minerals, whole grains have an important and often underestimated place in the shift to a more plant-based diet, but whole grains also contain so-called antinutrients that prevent the absorption of essential minerals. The third project aims to solve the problem of the availability of minerals in rye, oats, barley and other cereals and thereby contribute to optimized nutrition from plant-based foods. This will be done through hydrothermal treatment of the cereals, which reduces antinutrients by 90% The project is led by Södertälje Municipality.



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