The week the EU announced it will invest €50 million next year in helping startups and small businesses scale up the production of alternative proteins using methods such as precision fermentation.
The investment, through the European Innovation Council (EIC) Work Programme 2024– under the EU’s flagship Horizon Europe programme – aims to “improve the sustainability, efficiency, and resilience of the European food supply chain”.
Precision fermentation uses organisms such as yeast to produce animal proteins – such as whey and casein – and other ingredients that deliver the familiar flavour and texture of foods like cheese, meat, and eggs, without using animals.
The funding, under the EIC’s Accelerator Challenge, aims to support the development of “viable alternatives that complement agriculture”, producing foods rich in protein and other nutrients.
The work programme highlights that these foods can be produced using existing agricultural sidestreams, with benefits including reduced pressure on natural resources such as land and water.
Acacia Smith, senior policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe said:
“It’s excellent that the EIC has recognised precision fermentation’s game-changing potential to feed Europe’s growing population, improve public health and reduce our reliance on imports.
“It’s also very welcome that this funding aims to develop new ways of scaling up production – tackling Europe’s lack of infrastructure – and to look at other critical areas such as consumer acceptance, regulatory approval and supporting the entry of these foods into the European market.”
This month the Uk also unveiled its National Vision for Engineering Biology, a £2 billion plan to accelerate biotech innovation, including cell-cultivated and fermented foods, and part of a sustained commitment globally to reduce the impact of food carbon emissions.
Lead image: Adamo Foods offers an alternative to a steak. Photo: Uncredited.