The food of tomorrow

At Lantmännen, we are also developing the food of tomorrow, something we see as part of our responsibility from field to fork. With our extensive research and innovation work and 25,000 farmers behind us, together we can develop innovative and sustainable foods that create added value – today and tomorrow.

Consumers’ needs are changing and their expectations of food and food production are increasing. Expectations that Lantmännen aims not only to meet, but to exceed. That is why Lantmännen invests heavily every year in new methods, technologies, services and products that make farming thrive and help to develop the food of tomorrow.

We are already optimising grain and other plants, test-growing the crops of tomorrow and developing Functional food. Here are a few examples of our current research projects.

Major investment in the oats of tomorrow

Oats are a cereal with many health benefits. They have a good protein content, a high quality of fat and contain a high level of beta-glucan (a soluble fibre), which has a proven beneficial effect on cholesterol and blood sugar and for a healthy gut. Our Swedish climate and our soils are also perfect for growing oats!

For Lantmännen, it is important to continue developing oat cultivation in Sweden, which is why we are one of the companies involved in the ScanOats research centre at Lund University. This research aims to further develop the entire oats process – from cultivation and plant breeding to increasing the nutritional value of existing products and developing new oat-based foods. The long-term goal is to turn our new Swedish oat varieties into a major export success!

The oats centre, which is a collaborative project between industry and academia, was recently awarded SEK 100 million for further research.
“These new research resources will enable us to develop even better oat varieties with specific health properties in a sustainable manner, which can be used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Mats Larsson, R&D Director at Lantmännen.

So what will be the next oats product to hit the shelves? The first research results will be presented during 2018. So keep your eyes peeled!

Broccoli drink that lowers blood sugar levels

We have long known that broccoli is a healthy food, but even more benefits of this vegetable have now been discovered! In a research project funded by Lantmännen, researchers at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg have successfully identified a natural substance in broccoli that has a positive effect on patients with type 2 diabetes. The active substance – an antioxidant found in broccoli – has been shown to be able to lower blood sugar levels.

The results of the twelve-week diabetes study have been published in medical journal Science Translational Medicine. The study involved 100 patients with diabetes and the results show that a particular antioxidant in broccoli is able to counteract the liver’s increased production of glucose – making it an important supplement for diabetics.

“There is every reason to believe that this can become a valuable supplement to existing medication,” says Anders Rosengren, Senior Lecturer at the University of Gothenburg.

Climate-friendly mushroom - a new source of protein

Lantmännen currently offers several alternative sources of protein, such as beans grown on Öland and bean pasta that has a higher protein content than ordinary pasta. Right now, we are also developing a mushroom with a high protein content that can act as a good, green alternative.

This climate-friendly mushroom has been awarded a grant of just under SEK 0.5 million from Vinnova, Sweden's government agency for innovation, for its further development. Hopefully we will see a finished product in the supermarkets before too long!

More legumes!

Right now, Lantmännen is examining the possibility of using seeds from lupins and red clover, one of Sweden’s most-grown legumes, as good, healthy ingredients in food.

Red clover in particular is said to have many health benefits. They are both rich in protein and fibre and low in calories. Seeds are also gluten-free and easy to grow organically, satisfying the increased demand from consumers today for food that meets special dietary requirements. Red clover is currently used mainly as animal feed, but also as a food supplement.

Lantmännen is continuing its innovation work to develop new and exciting foods from the plant kingdom!

Go quinoa

Over the past year, Swedish farmers have had great success with their quinoa cultivation and the area of land used for growing quinoa continues to increase around the country. The crop was not previously grown in Sweden, but as demand for quinoa continued to rise, so trials began here – with good results.

Lantmännen is now actively working to secure access to the healthy quinoa seed, which is a source of important vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates. In the long term, we hope to be able to use only Swedish-grown quinoa in our products.

Quinoa in muesli, as pasta, or as the base for a salad? Lantmännen already has lots of good products to choose from. Find your favourite!

New Swedish crops!

In Lantmännen’s special crops project, we are on the hunt for new Swedish crops! Amaranth, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and special barley are all being test-grown in Sweden right now – with the hope that these crops will soon find their way onto Swedish dinner tables!

Jakob Lindblad, Innovation Project Manager at Lantmännen R&D, is in charge of the project and has high hopes for future harvests.

“If we succeed in growing these – and more – crops in Sweden, we can reduce food imports and transport and contribute the Swedish added-value that farming has to offer. It will be very exciting to follow this development,” says Jakob.

Skywalker - the rapeseed of the future 

Lantmännen’s plant breeders are currently looking into adapted rapeseed oils that have both better functionality and greater added value for health. A rapeseed variety with the working name of Skywalker has a particularly good balance between the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, making it easier for the body to absorb omega-3, which is good for both the brain and the heart!

“Skywalker will be grown in a relatively small area and is clearly of interest for customers who want a vegetable oil with a health profile adapted to special dietary requirements and children’s food, for example,” says Elisabeth Gunnarsson, who is responsible for Lantmännen’s spring oilseed rape breeding.

As well as improvements to rapeseed oil, research is also under way all over the world, including in Sweden, into the use of rapeseed as food. Rapeseed cake has been shown to have a very high protein content. A new, green addition to your cooking?