World leading regulatory procedure is already in place to incubate nascent food tech sector
The EU is primed to become a new Silicon Valley for cultivated meat companies, reaping huge economic and environmental rewards, because a gold standard regulatory framework is already in place to approve new products.
EU Agriculture Ministers are due to meet tomorrow night (23 January) to discuss the regulation of cultivated meat within the 27 Member State bloc, with concerns expected to be raised over the approvals process.
“We already have the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Novel Foods Regulation to ensure safe and nutritious products are brought quickly to the EU market,” Jasmijn de Boo, Global CEO of ProVeg International, said.
“This firmly sets up the EU to be a Silicon Valley for cultivated meat companies, bringing income security and improved livelihoods to thousands of farmers and giving a much needed boost to biodiversity where land is freed up. It is a hugely exciting time for the bloc,” De Boo added.
De Boo warned that the EU needed to effectively allay any concerns about cultivated meat otherwise it stands to fall behind in the global agri-tech race to benefit from the emerging industry.
“Singapore and the US have already approved a handful of products, leading the way for others to follow. So the EU already has some catching up to do. But the ground has been prepared and innovative European companies are already gearing up to bring their products to European consumers,” De Boo said.
Alternative proteins are expected to reach between 11% and 22% of the overall protein market by 2035 (1,2). The global market-size specifically for cultivated meat could represent $20 billion by 2030 (3).
Studies also have high confidence that a developing cultivated meat industry will create new employment opportunities and benefit food security, human health, and animals (4). If the EU takes a bold, innovation-forward approach, these baseline forecasts could be surpassed.
EU governments already investing in the future
The Netherlands, Spain and Germany have already made substantial investments into cultivated meat.
The Dutch government announced in April 2022 that it had to support the creation of a national cellular agriculture ecosystem as part of the country’s National Growth Fund. The Spanish government, through the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), has awarded €5.2 million to a cultivated meat project led by BioTech Foods that is investigating the health impacts of cultivated meat in the prevention of colon cancer and dyslipidemia (5).
In Germany, the government announced late last year that it had earmarked €38 million in its 2024 budget for the promotion of plant-based, precision-fermented and cell-cultivated proteins.
However, the first submission for an approval for cultivated meat in Europe happened outside the EU in Switzerland when Aleph Farms submitted approval for cultivated beef steaks this year from the Swiss authorities. The same company has also sought approval from the UK authorities.
The scaling up of cultivated meat production brings with it a host of environmental benefits. A life-cycle assessment shows that cultivated beef could result in a reduction of 92% of carbon footprint if renewable energy is used in the production process, 95% of land use and 78% of water requirements, compared to conventional beef production (6).
In addition, cultivated meat will allow the freeing-up of more land currently dedicated to animal agriculture, allowing these areas to be used for reforestation, biodiversity protection, and rewilding, all of which would allow nature to regenerate and absorb more CO2.
- Oxford Smith School
- Cultivated meat: Out of the lab, into the frying pan | McKinsey
- The expected impact of cultivated and plant-based meats on jobs: the views of experts from Brazil, the United States and Europe | Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (nature.com)
- Delft, CE Delft (February 2021): LCA of cultivated meat. Future projections for different scenarios. Available at: https://drive.google. com/file/d/1ao1IYCiIj8CM5EikPXF8PLo33mAiSnDJ/view [15.09.2021]
Notes to Editors
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About ProVeg International
ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040. Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet.