EU research and innovation initiative Horizon Europe has announced €32 million in funding for sustainable protein research. The funding will go towards innovation in plant-based, cell-cultured, and fermented alt-meat.
The move comes after pressure from the Good Food Institute Europe, which teamed up with 21 other organisations to send an open letter to the European Commission. The organisations called for more investment in sustainable protein research and development.
The sum is the biggest support package Horizon Europe has ever allocated to alt-protein research. It will be broken down into three projects:
- Filling knowledge gaps on nutritional, safety, allergenicity, and environmental assessment of alternative proteins and dietary shift — €11 million.
- Developing sustainable and competitive land-based protein crop systems and value chains — €9 million.
- Building alternative protein-friendly sustainable and healthy food environments — €12 million.
The EU has previously funded several projects aimed at improving the sustainability of the food system. The FIT4FOOD2030 project developed a “toolbox” to help food system actors improve sustainability, while the PROTEIN2FOOD project aimed to accelerate the transition towards plant-based protein.
“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,” said Acacia Smith, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe.
She added, “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.”