Solanic is a subsidiary Dutch potato starch group Avebe. It was formed in February of this year, and its brief is to create new value from potatoes by refining, developing and marketing non-starch based ingredients from the tubers. It is part of a move by the parent company away from the commodity end of market and towards value-added ingredients The debate, which is scheduled to take place in Amsterdam on May 11, will play an important role in garnering industry attention to Solanic's activities in the vegetable protein field. The company is developing high performance proteins that it says offer manufacturers many advantages in comparison to animal proteins. Its innovations are said to have been protected through product patents and exclusive cooperation agreements, and commercial production is slated to commence towards the end of this year. Consumer concerns about health and wellness are driving the market for vegetable proteins, but according to Solanic most vegetable proteins, from soy, gluten and pea, for instance, have inferior functional properties when compared to animal proteins. The question is whether potato proteins will overcome these functional barriers, and what benefits they will offer in terms of new product development, food safety, weight management and healthy ageing. "By presenting the opinions of international experts in the field of vegetable and animal proteins about applications, functional and nutritional benefits followed by a lively debate with R&D specialists from the food industry, we will try to determine the true value of a new natural potato protein," said the company.