Studies & Numbers

Think Tank Calls for Innovative Policymaking on Protein Diversification to Address EU Food System Challenges

A new policy brief by the food innovation community EIT FoodAccelerating Protein Diversification for Europe, argues that innovative policymaking is key to unlocking protein diversification to transform Europe’s food system.

To feed a growing population and minimize the adverse effects of animal agriculture on the environment and human health, new policy strategies should prioritise protein diversification, including plant and algae-based, cultivated, fermented, and insect-based alternatives, states the paper.

The policy brief, developed by Think Tank EIT Food Protein Diversification in consultation with experts and stakeholders across the sector provides policy recommendations for decision-makers to accelerate a change for sustainable proteins in the region.

“This collaborative effort confirms the important role of EU governments in driving change — from R&I funding, to enabling policy frameworks, to support for farmers,” said Acacia Smith, GFI’s Senior Policy Manager.

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Global responsibility

An overview of the policy brief includes the following recommendations: 

  • Systems thinking: The food system is complex and dynamic. A “systems solution” for protein diversification requires collaboration across the entire food value chain to achieve widespread adoption and inter and trans-disciplinary research. 
  • Enabling policy environments: EU-level future policies, such as the EU Protein Strategy, must foster the evolution of alternative proteins.
  • Regulation: The EU must assess its regulatory frameworks to find if they hinder or enable innovation in protein diversification. 
  • Farming: Beyond being part of dialogues and transition planning, farmers should be awarded substantial support by governments in research, development, and de-risking investments. 
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  • Research, development, and innovation (RDI):  Governments should sufficiently fund protein diversification. Public financing can drive long-term RDI into societal topics such as environmental sustainability and mitigate risks for private investors. 
  • Going to market: Decision makers should consider broader food environments of alt proteins such as availability, affordability, and cultural preferences to make policy measures from information to competitive pricing. 
  • Education and training: The food industry and sector require a larger workforce. Comprehensive education, capacity building, and training programmes covering different disciplines and sectors are needed to attract and retain talent.

“Putting these recommendations into action requires meaningful collaboration among governments, industry stakeholders, academia, and civil society. Only through shared commitments can we address the main challenges of our time, transcend traditional limitations, and foster a sense of global responsibility,” said Marja-Liisa Meurice, director of EIT Food North and East.

EIT Good policy brief,  Accelerating Protein Diversification for Europe, was unveiled at the Future of Food Conference 2023 hosted by EIT Food in Brussels.

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