The decision was made in consultation with the nonprofit GFI Israel, which plays a key role in the region in promoting the advantage of alternative proteins as a solution to global climate and food crises.
Alla Voldman-Rentzer, vice president at the GFI Israel, commented: “The decision to select food tech with an emphasis on alternative proteins as one of Israel’s five national focus areas, positions the field as a key growth engine for Israel, especially in light of global trends such as the climate and global food crises, and will be a global strategic asset as well.”
Annually, the Ministry of Innovation and Science allocates NIS180M for research grants and national plans from which the alternative proteins field will now benefit.
EU must follow Israel’s example
After Israel’s decision, the GFI Europe is now calling on the EU and member states to follow Israel’s example or risk falling behind. Acacia Smith, senior policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe added:
“This announcement is a hugely significant step, demonstrating Israel’s commitment to sustainable proteins as a key pillar of its climate and food security plans. Europe has been a pioneer in this field. With serious investment in open-access research, we could lead the world in plant-based and cultivated meat. But as countries like Israel make sustainable proteins a priority, we’re at serious risk of falling behind”, she concluded.
Israel is already considered a world-leading food tech innovator that leverages technologies to make meat and dairy animal-free products using cellular agriculture, precision fermentation, and biomass fermentation.
According to a recently published GFI report, the alternative protein sector in Israel grew by 160% in 2022. The numbers result from comparing 2022’s first half of the year to 2021’s same period. Additional data ranks Israel first in the world with 22% of global investments in plant-based protein and second in the world (after the USA) with 38% of global investments in fermentation-derived proteins.
“However, to maintain its advantage, Israel needs to build the appropriate infrastructure and fund further research in the field. The importance of alternative proteins stems from the need to produce a global food industry that can respond to humanity’s great challenges, which include: the expected increase in the world’s population, the climate crisis, the global food crisis, and the prevention of the environmental damage caused by industrial farming”, commented Alla Voldman-Rentzer on the government’s decision.
The other areas chosen by the ministry were: bio-convergence, aquaculture, renewable energy and energy storage, and space.