A European Union funding programme Horizon Europe has allocated €32 million into the research and development of sustainable proteins such as plant-based food, fermented proteins and cultivated meat.
The €32 million funding package forms part of Horizon Europe’s larger €14.7 billion programme for a “healthier, greener and more digital Europe”, and marks the biggest funding package dedicated to supporting plant-based, cultivated meat and fermentation to date.
Horizon Europe’s funding will see the running of three projects, which aim to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the aforementioned proteins, facilitate best-practice sharing between farmers and increase protein crop production.
A budget of €11 million will be put towards “filling knowledge gaps on nutritional, safety, allergenicity and environment assessment of alternative proteins and dietary shift”. Meanwhile, €9 million will be used to develop sustainable and competitive land-based protein crop systems and value chains.
Finally, €12 million will be invested into building alternative protein-friendly sustainable and healthy food environments – ensuring that restaurants and supermarkets offer sustainable and affordable protein options other than typical meat and dairy products.
The programme report stated that the move is in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy to transition to a healthy and resilient EU agriculture sector, in particular the goal of adopting EU-grown plant proteins.
The funding package comes after the Good Food Institute Europe, ProVeg and 20 other organisations sent an open letter calling on the European Commission to invest in sustainable protein research and development.
Acacia Smith, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “Horizon Europe’s funding for open-access research will spark real innovation in plant-based foods, cultivated meat and fermentation. By making these options more delicious and accessible, and ensuring farmers are part of the transition, this investment will accelerate Europe’s shift to a sustainable, secure and just food system.
“It’s a strong signal that the EU is betting on sustainable proteins playing an important role in meeting its climate and biodiversity targets. National governments should take this as encouragement to invest in the research and infrastructure we need to advance plant-based and cultivated meat.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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