A population-level shift towards more plant-based diets is urgently needed to reduce the environmental impacts of food production and to improve public health. EAT-Lancet Commission’s report calls for a shift towards more plant-based diets to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement and presents the Planetary Health Diet as a reference for a healthy and sustainable diet for growing population.
Interestingly, the Planetary Health Diet highlights an increased consumption of legumes as one way to move towards sustainable and healthy diet: legumes such as peas and beans are rich in protein and can thus replace and reduce animal proteins in the human diet. However, the use of legumes is associated with undesirable intestinal symptoms in at least a third of the population.
To solve that problem, EIT Food is funding a project called LeguComf, which BeYou is working in collaboration with as well as other partners such as University of Helsinki, VTT and Valio. The aim of LeguComf is to produce well-tolerated legume-based foods for all consumer groups. Enzyme-aided processing is used to develop products with pleasant sensory properties and without compounds that may cause intestinal symptoms. The developed products are tested in healthy human volunteers. BeYou developed a digital symptom checker, making it possible for the University of Helsinki and VTT to track feedback from users, their feelings, sensations, and possible symptoms after consuming them. The activity should not only enable innovation of legume-based foods with high consumer acceptance but also reveal reasons behind the intestinal discomfort.