There are definitely two schools of thought as to whether or not humans should have meat in their diet, but even many non-vegetarians claim that the production and consumption of animal protein could definitely stand to at least be scaled back, both for environmental and health reasons. It has been estimated that it takes 40 square meters (48 sq. yards) of land to produce one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of meat, while 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of carrots or 80 kilograms (176 lbs) of apples could be raised within that same space. Obesity and cardiovascular disease, meanwhile, have been linked to high-fat diets – diets which often include things like sausages and hamburgers. With concerns like these in mind, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging have developed food ingredients derived from lupin seed proteins, that can reportedly stand in quite convincingly for both milk and animal fat.

Fraunhofer’s Dr.-Ing. Peter Eisner created his “milk substitute” to be used as a base in foods like ice cream or cheese. It apparently is lactose- and cholesterol-free, has a neutral flavor, and is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

His colleague Daniela Sussmann utilized a special production method to produce a vegetable protein isolate with fat-like qualities, with lupin seeds as her starting point. The substance has a viscous, creamy consistency, and has already been used to give low-fat liverwurst a juicer, more appealing consistency.

“The microscopic structure of this product resembles that of the fat particles in sausage meat,” she explained. “So you can use it to produce low-fat sausage products that taste just as good as the original.”