Project title: GIANT LEAPS

Research Fund: European Union Horizon Europe programme

Initial year: 2022

Service Category:



Birgir Örn Smárason

Research Group Leader

The project is intended to explore the possibility of speeding up the transformation of proteins from animal sources into other food proteins. Changing food choices is one of the key aspects of reducing the footprint of food systems in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of energy, water and land, among other environmental factors. At the same time, the health and well-being of people and animals are taken into account, along with the preservation of the earth's ecosystems. The GIANT LEAPS project promotes innovation, methodology and an open data set intended to accelerate the implementation of a modified diet according to The Farm-to-Fork strategy and the Green Deal's 2050 climate neutrality goals.

Achieving the dietary shift in practice is inherently complex due to the diverse set of actors involved and further hindered by major knowledge gaps – scattered across the various alternative protein sources and the domains of health (safety, allergenicity and digestibility), environment (GHGs and other environmental and climate impacts, biodiversity, circularity), and/or barriers to adoption (technological, sensory, and consumer acceptance).

GIANT LEAPS has at its disposal a team of experts to work with the impact and uncertainty aspects of the study. With the goal of establishing the viability of the plant-based protein-based diet of the future recognized by GIANT LEAPS stakeholders. The interest group's choice of vegetable proteins is based on short-, medium- and long-term goals and effects, together with available data on the raw materials. Innovations and improved methodologies together with accessible and comprehensive information about the plant proteins lead to, among other things:

  • Policymakers to prioritise changes in the food system towards the dietary shift based on desired impact,
  • Value chain actors to make strategic scientific, business and investment choices,
  • The general public to make more sustainable and healthy dietary choices.   

Matís is involved in developing and characterisation of novel alternative proteins developed in the project; their value chain mapping; assessment of circularity potential, impacts on sustainability, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and climate change mitigation potential.