Recent years have been marked by an increased interest in alternative proteins as food sources. Protein choices are no longer limited to traditional plant and animal proteins; rather, there is a growing interest in proteins from novel approaches applied to various plants, insects, and cell-cultured or fermented sources. Global trade and economic growth are fueling shifts in nutritional preferences and new consumer demands are placing pressure on traditional supply chains and are demanding greater transparency about what they eat. As this trend in alternative proteins gains momentum, an exploration of the food safety and nutritional impact is required. Food regulators are working to keep pace with developments in food technology and safety. Meanwhile, the increasing global access to ingredients has complicated questions on the impact for nutrition science. To better understand the broad landscape, a Future Foods Symposium on Alternative Protein Sources was hosted by ILSI North America. The Symposium was organized into six sessions: 1) Enabling Technologies; 2) Impact on Agricultural Systems; 3) Consumer Beliefs; 4) Public Acceptance; 5) Nutrition Challenges and Opportunities; and, 6) Food Safety Considerations, and was attended by over 100 scientists and stakeholders from academia, government, industry, and research organizations. Unanimously, the speakers echoed the message that public perception and acceptance are critical to the success of an evolving food system and that in addition to science creating optimized products, there must be strong communication and messaging for the public to understand and accept alternative proteins.
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