New findings by the GFI show that more than £400m has been earmarked for investment into plant-based foods, cultivated meat and fermentation by the EU and governments across the continent.
The ‘State of Global Policy’ report found that £315m (€370 million) was invested in alternative proteins by European governments during 2022, and claimed that such products can reduce climate emissions by up to 92% compared to conventional meat.
Global government funding for the sector doubled in the last year, with Denmark and the Netherlands breaking records for investment into the plant-based and cultivated meat sectors respectively.
GFI senior policy manager Acacia Smith welcomed the report’s findings as a step towards a more sustainable future within food production.
“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,” Smith said.
Cultivated meat regulation
The GFI findings come shortly after the sale of cultivated meat products was approved in the US, while it was announced earlier this month (July 2023) that the Netherlands was the first country in Europe to allows cultivated meat and seafood tasting sessions to take place.
However, potential restrictions in countries across Europe threaten to limit the sector’s growth, despite the levels of the investment seen in recent years.
As a result, GFI Europe has called upon regulators work together on a coherent sustainable protein strategy that prevents Europe from falling behind the US.
“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,” Smith said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, details of Meatless Farm’s administration have been revealed with the UK arm of the business owing more than £2m.