Germany invests €38m in sustainable protein transition
The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag have announced €38 million in funding in 2024 for the sustainable protein transition.
The measures adopted include the expansion of the public research funding for cell-based meat and plant-based foods, a stronger focus of the German protein crop strategy on human nutrition, support in the transformation for farmers and the establishment of a ‘Proteins-of-the-Future' centre.
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has outlined a comprehensive strategy to administer plant protein funding. €8 million will be dedicated to promoting proteins directly for human nutrition instead of animal feed. A competence centre focused on future proteins will be established, along with a stakeholder forum on protein sources for human nutrition.
The majority of the funding, amounting to €20 million, is designated to assist in phasing out animal husbandry and transitioning to the production and processing of cell-based, plant-based and fermented proteins for human consumption. The remaining €10 million will be directed towards promoting innovative methods for the production and processing of cell-based, plant-based and fermented proteins.
The Good Food Institute has welcomed the move, stating that Germany – which has seen isolated funding measures in this area in recent years – is catching up with other countries.
Jens Tuider, strategic director of ProVeg International, said: “The German government is setting the stage for a transformative shift in protein consumption. This investment signifies a critical step forward. Thanks to this decision, we will finally be able to use proteins effectively in the future. The competence centre will offer young companies an important contact point, ensuring that Germany remains an attractive location for innovation."
German start-up Bluu Seafood's cell-based seafood products
Other countries have made significant strides in the alt-protein realm. The Netherlands made a record investment of €60 million to develop an ecosystem for cell-based meat and precision fermentation. Denmark presented the “world’s first” strategy for the plant-based sector and announced that it will invest the equivalent of €168 million in the sector.
The UK announced that it will set up a research centre for alt-proteins and will also invest in the sector. France invested €65 million in research and scaling up the plant-based sector. With Germany’s investments announced in the 2024 federal budget, it is joining the group of countries that are investing heavily in the sector.
Tuider continued: “Germany is following the lead of pioneering nations, such as Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK, who have made the diversification of protein supply a top priority and are already investing in the expansion of corresponding ecosystems. This puts Germany in an excellent position to maximise the opportunities offered by sustainable protein supply – spanning climate and health benefits, generating future-proof employment, and establishing leadership in innovation in a rapidly expanding global market.”
Ivo Rzegotta, senior public affairs manager, Germany, at GFI Europe, said: “With this decision on the protein transition, the coalition is taking a big step towards the transition to a sustainable food system laid out in the coalition agreement. The agreed funding measures for research and transformation will put Germany on the path to becoming a leader in this emerging field.”
He continued: “The announced Competence Centre Proteins of the Future offers the opportunity for work on alternative protein sources in Germany to be better coordinated and aligned with a strategic goal in future. Germany needs a roadmap for the transition towards more alternative protein sources and such a centre can be the first step in developing such a strategy with all relevant departments and stakeholders.”