Europe has committed nearly half a billion euros to sustainable proteins, report finds
European governments have announced a total of nearly half a billion euros of funding to develop sustainable proteins, according to new figures released by the Good Food Institute (GFI).
GFI’s 73-page report – 2022 State of Global Policy – found that the EU and national governments have earmarked over €477 million for foods such as cell-based and plant-based meat.
The international nonprofit’s report shows European governments are ramping up support for these more efficient ways of making meat, seafood, eggs and dairy, with €370 million invested in 2022 alone.
It also states that global government investment in the sector doubled last year, with Denmark and the Netherlands both breaking global records.
The Netherlands launched the €60 million Cellulaire Agricultuur Nederland (Cellular Agriculture Netherlands) funding programme ‘National Growth Fund’ designed to accelerate research and the commercialisation of cell-based meat and precision fermentation, as well as education and training to prepare workers for the jobs this sector creates. Denmark outpaced other countries buy announcing DKK 675 million (approx. €91 million) to support the country’s growing plant-based sector and to incentivise farmers to grow protein-rich crops.
Other European highlights from the report include:
The European Union increased sustainable protein funding to €25 million through the Horizon Europe programme, while the EU-funded EIT Food platform distributed €1.8 million to cell-based meat, plant-based meat and fermentation projects.
France committed around €67 million, including up to €56 million for research into sustainable protein production, as well as more than €10 million in grants to help plant-based food manufacturer #Umiami buy and retrofit a production facility – a project expected to create 200 jobs.
The UK committed to spending £20 million to build capacity, research, innovation and business-led commercialisation in the sustainable protein industry, including developing fermentation-made foods.
Finland awarded a €34 million grant to fermentation startup #SolarFoods, enabling the company to accelerate the progress of their first production facility and doubling the nation’s investment in sustainable proteins.
Governments across Europe are expanding their reasons for investing in sustainable proteins, with Norway citing food security, the UK and the Netherlands citing ambitions to lead the world in biotechnology and Denmark and Sweden citing climate concerns.
Acacia Smith, senior policy manager at the GFI, said: “Sustainable proteins can deliver the meat people love at a fraction of the environmental cost, so it’s an encouraging sign for food security and climate change that Europe is increasing its investment in this field”.
She continued: “But, with Italy trying to ban cultivated meat and other countries considering unnecessary plant-based labelling restrictions, Europe is sending mixed messages to researchers and companies who need certainty to deliver on their potential. The EU and national governments must develop coherent strategies to support the sector, and ensure regulatory processes are clear, to reap the benefits of their investments.”
The report estimates that governments worldwide invested a total of $635 million in sustainable proteins last year alone, with countries from Brazil to Oman getting involved for the first time and others such as Australia multiplying their investments.
Although the report found public support has now surpassed $1 billion, research funded by the UK Foreign Office and #ClimateWorks shows it will take more than $10 billion each year to realise the full benefits of the sustainable protein sectors.