Faba bean for future food and feed - phase 1

Last changed: 04 December 2023

The project is finished.

The project in brief

Both Sweden and all of Europe currently depend on imported soybeans to meet the needs for vegetable protein, which is largely used for animal feed.  Our goal is to fulfil Sweden’s need for protein-based food and feed products by increasing the production of locally grown high-quality protein crops. The faba bean (Vicia faba), also known as fava bean or broad bean, is a legume with a high protein content that is already grown in Sweden today, but only on a maximum of 3% of the arable land in some parts, and there have been no breeding attempts involving this crop since the 1990s. 

In this SLU Grogrund project, we will initiate a breeding programme for faba bean and develop new techniques to improve the properties of this crop for use as both animal feed and food in Sweden. The project will also study specific qualities that are of interest to the development of new, healthy and tasty food products based on faba bean. New varieties of faba bean adapted for food products will provide an increased financial value for the farmer through the diversification of this crop, from being used primarily as animal feed, while new feed varieties will be created to increase the areas for feed production.

The project activities will include development of a breeding programme that will initially be based on the best available commercial varieties. Genotypes of faba bean from various parts of the world, with properties of interest for a Swedish context, will be gathered in a gene pool for research, from which new candidates for the breeding programme can be identified. This collection of genotypes will be phenotyped and genotyped to develop genomic breeding tools and make the breeding of faba bean more effective in the long term. Transcriptomics and metabolomics on seeds under development will be used together with sensory flavour profiling in order to identify properties that are important for using faba bean for food, for example in harvesting of fresh unripe beans.


Media features

Watch the clip "Fattigmaten kan bli framtidens proteingröda". Project coordinator Åsa Grimberg is interviewed.

There is an article in Råd&Rön about "Här växer framtidens färs". The article was publishedthe 21 of September 2020 and from SLU Åsa Grimberg is interviewed.

Åsa Grimberg is interviewed in Vetenskapsradion the 31 of August  the headline is  "Åkerbönan ska bli bättre mat för människor"

In Odla med P1:s sändning the 31 of August there is a clip about the project  "Faba bean for future food and feed". It starts about 14:03 minutes.

Watch the clip "Åkerböna framtidens proteingröda" as were published in Lantbruksnytt. Project coordinator Åsa Grimberg is interviewed.

In the newsletter AGFO weekly from 13 June 2019, there is an interview with Åsa Grimberg and Eva Johansson on the subject of  "Detta hindrar ett svenskt proteinskifte".

The journal Cerealia no. 1 2019 there is an article entitled  "På jakt efter den perfekta åkerbönan".

Related pages:


Åsa Grimberg, Researcher
Department of Plant Breeding, SLU
asa.grimberg@slu.se, 040-41 55 41