Pr:Ins - Holistic evaluation of alternative protein sources with special consideration of insects

Collaborative project of the innovation space "NewFoodSystems"

With the "Bioeconomy Innovation Areas", the BMBF supports the development of bioeconomic innovations as drivers for a sustainable, biobased economy. The topic of nutrition is addressed in the innovation space "NewFoodSystems"/"Neue Lebensmittelsysteme". The basic idea of the NewFoodSystems (NCCR) innovation space is to bring together interested stakeholders from food and nutrition research with stakeholders from the food industry to work together on new approaches for tomorrow's nutrition and to initiate bioeconomic innovations.

The NCCR joint project "Pr:Ins - Holistic Evaluation" brings together the evaluation aspects of sustainability, economic viability, consumer acceptance, marketability, quality and safety as well as the respective legal framework and thus contributes to a successful transfer of innovative developments to the market. The concrete development and application of methods is based on the example of insect-based food and feed products. After completion of the project, the developed holistic assessment concept, consisting of a multitude of individual assessments, will be available to research and practice for further product and process innovations. ifeu is working on the sustainability assessment sub-project, which consists of three work packages.

In the first work package, a toolbox will be developed for the uniform and comparable sustainability assessment of the projects processed within the framework of NewFoodSystems and the food systems considered. ifeu is responsible for evaluating environmental and socio-economic aspects. The inclusion of economic factors is carried out by Evonik and ifeu in cooperation with the company GmbH, whereby the latter is also developing the toolbox into a strategic and operational decision support system for market players.

In the second work package, ifeu and Evonik are preparing life cycle assessments of various insect protein ingredients. In the process, the boundary conditions under which the use of insect proteins in the overall system of feed and food production is ecologically advantageous will also be investigated, with the aim of ensuring high-quality and efficient protein utilization. Based on this, prospective life cycle assessment scenarios will be developed with the help of findings from the other subprojects.

In the third work package, ifeu is developing sustainability profiles for a variety of protein ingredients from different protein sources and innovative protein-containing products made from them. This work package serves to supplement the protein database of the NewFoodSystems project Sustainable Protein Ingredients, which is currently being established, with information/data on sustainability. 

An important component of this joint project is the close cooperation and coordination of the project steps with the direct partner companies from practice as well as with the content work of the subprojects on the evaluation of ecological sustainability as well as quality, safety and law. Intermediate as well as final results from the analysis on consumer acceptance will be dovetailed with the findings from the other Pr:Ins subprojects in order to provide the most comprehensive, holistic assessment of insect-based foods possible.


July 2022 – June 2025


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung - BMBF


Max Rubner-Institut Bundesforschungsinstitut für Ernährung und Lebensmittel (Karlsruhe)
Evonik Operations GmbH (Essen)
Südzucker AG (Mannheim)
NX-Food GmbH (Düsseldorf)