The European Alliance for Plant-based Foods (EAPF) brings together like-minded organisations in the plant-based value chain – from industry to the non-profit sector – around a unique vision: Europe spearheading the transformation towards a sustainable plant-based food system for the good of the people and the planet.
The organisation engages with EU policy leaders to put plant-based foods at the heart of sustainable food systems, by creating a favourable policy environment that actively promotes the shift towards more plant-based foods and overcoming current regulatory barriers that prevent a level playing field between plant-based products and their animal-based counterparts.
We spoke with Secretary General Siska Pottie about the EAPF and its aims.
What successes were achieved in 2021?
The biggest success of 2021 – and of EAPF in general as we launched only in September 2020 – is by far the rejection of Amendment 171, also known as “plant-based dairy censorship”. If approved, the ban would have put additional restrictions on the marketing and labelling of plant-based products analogues to dairy. It would have prohibited the use of expressions such as “plant-based alternative to milk” but could have potentially even banned the use of illustrations which were similar to dairy products, such as a glass of white liquid on the front pack of plant-based beverages. This success was the result of a joint effort coordinated by EAPF and which involved the whole value chain, from farmers to consumers.
EAPF has also been actively engaged in other policy discussions where there was the need to bring a strong and clear voice for the plant-based value chain. Topics include the revision of the EU promotional programme for agricultural products, the EU school scheme, nutritional and environmental labelling.
What are the priorities on the agenda in 2022?
The European Commission’s agri-food agenda in 2022 will address many topics of relevance for the plant-based food sector and on which EAPF will be active. Topics will include:
- The overall policy discussion on a sustainable food system framework, where EAPF will promote plant-based foods as a fundamental part of the solution and thus of the future EU policy approach.
- Research and innovation, where EAPF will continue advocating for increased funding for the plant-based food sector, allowing an already booming industry to provide even more sustainable and healthier products.
- Environmental labelling, which should truthfully reflect the environmental performance of plant-based foods vis-a-vis their animal-based counterparts;
- The revision of the EU promotion programme for agricultural products, which should align with the goals of the Farm to Fork Strategy by increasing support to sustainable agricultural products such as crops for human consumption (e.g. pulses) while opening up support for plant-based products made from EU crops.
- Food denomination, whose debate is not over as initiatives are being developed at national level (e.g in France and Belgium), where we are also active together with our members.
How is the number and structure of members developing?
EAPF is a membership-based organisation. EAPF’s full members are organisations active in the plant-based food sector and which subscribe to our values and mission. Our associated members are associations at EU or national level which also share our values and mission. We also have partner organisations with whom we collaborate on an ad-hoc basis. At this very moment, EAPF counts on 29 full members, 8 associated members and 9 partners. Such high interest clearly shows the need for a strong and aligned voice of the plant-based food sector in the EU.
Who can and who should become a member?
We welcome organisations across the plant-based food value chain (e.g. farmers, industry, retailers, financial organisations, health and environmental organisations, consumers) which abide by our mission and we see plant-based food as an essential part of the solution to develop more sustainable and healthy food systems.
It is important to join forces to be able to take action on the many topics that are crucial for the future of the plant-based food sector. With the ambitions of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy which acknowledge the environmental and health benefits of moving towards more plant-based diets, it is time for the sector to be active and vocal and maximise the momentum. We hope to welcome more members allowing us to grow and sustain the EAPF activities.