Meet the Smart Protein partner: Ghent University


Ghent University (UGent) is an internationally renowned, open, pluralistic and socially engaged university in Belgium. Its research group Agri-food Marketing and Chain Management contributes to the Smart Protein project with regards to consumer studies and sustainability assessments. Read on to learn more about their expertise and involvement in the project. 

A strong Department of Agricultural Economics 

Ghent University’s Department of Agricultural Economics conducts research on social and socio-economic aspects related to food, agriculture, and the sustainable use of natural resources. The department’s research group Agri-food Marketing and Chain Management, which is involved in the Smart Protein project, specialises in quantitative and qualitative research methods and socio-economic research at specific levels of the supply chain as well as the supply chain as a whole. Research typically consists of multi-disciplinary collaborations, through which the department aims to valorise innovations and technologies and provide socio-economic evidence of the quadruple helix: i.e. supply-chain actors from farm to fork, including policy makers, researchers, and the community. Agri-food Marketing and Chain Management combines different types of expertise, including chain and network management, waste management, sustainability management, and stakeholder behavior, in its contribution to the Smart Protein project.  

Ghent University and the Smart Protein project 

Ghent University is involved in two of the Smart Protein project work packages: Work Package 6, which focuses on consumer research, and Work Package 8, which deals with sustainability assessments. 

For Work Package 6, UGent contributes to consumer studies, the main objective being to investigate consumer acceptance and trust in innovative plant-based food products in different markets under the scope of the Smart Protein project. Together with ProVeg and the University Copenhagen, UGent is involved in a Pan European survey assessing consumers’ attitude and readiness to accept these novel plant-based food products. UGent will also lead the studies related to the tasting of the Smart Protein product prototypes and evaluating the sensory properties and the likelihood of consumers accepting these future plant-based products and supporting them when they go to market.

For Work Package 8, UGent contributes to the sustainability analysis of the plant-based food products, developed as part of the Smart Protein project. UGent is responsible for the economic evaluation of these products over their entire life cycle, from farm to fork. Furthermore, UGent examines stakeholder’s perceptions regarding the cultivation of protein crops for human food. Ghent University is a key partner in the Smart Protein project due to its involvement in numerous European and local projects, and its experience in collaborating with the private sector.