UK must invest £390m into meat alternatives to reduce emissions by 92%, says report

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

GFI Europe has called on the Government to invest in alternative proteins. Credit: New Age Meat
GFI Europe has called on the Government to invest in alternative proteins. Credit: New Age Meat

Related tags cultivated meat Sustainability

The Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe) has published a new report calling on the Government to invest in plant-based and cultivated meat.

The non-profit said that nearly £400m in spending was necessary in order to create green jobs, bolster domestic food security and help Britain become a ‘science superpower’.

Between 2025 and 2030, GFI Europe estimated that £78m needed be spent each year on research into the development of sustainable proteins, which are capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 92% when compared to meat. This would allow the UK to keep up with the rest of the world, the report said.

UK sustainable protein industry could be worth £6.8bn

The UK became just the second country in Europe to receive an application for the sale of cultivated meat earlier this month (August 2023)​, with the application now subject to an assessment process led by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). To date, Singapore and the USA are the only countries in the world where the sale of cultivated meat is legal.

The report also called for the FSA to be awarded £30m in additional funding in the 2023 Autumn Statement to reduce the risk of startups leaving the country due to concerns about the regulatory process.

In the UK, more than 20 companies are currently looking to produce meat directly from cells, raising more private investment during 2022 than the rest of Europe combined. However, just £43m has been invested by UK Research and Innovation in sustainable protein R&D since 2012.

According to research by the Green Alliance, the UK’s sustainable protein industry could be worth £6.8bn per year by 2035, creating 25,000 jobs in the process.

Government must 'deliver on ambitions'

The UK is home to dynamic food producers, world-leading scientists and a strong plant-based market – all the tools needed to build a globally competitive sustainable protein industry capable of reducing emissions, creating green jobs and making the country less reliant on imports​,” said Linus Pardoe, UK policy manager at GFI Europe.

The Government promised to keep the UK at the forefront of this growing sector in last year’s food strategy, but it must act now to deliver on that ambition, including investing £390 million in research and giving the Food Standards Agency the resources it urgently needs.

"Failing to act risks the UK missing out on economic and environmental benefits as other countries race ahead​.”

In other news, the potato industry needs to make changes in a bid to reach net zero target​.

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