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Launched by EU Funding programme Horizon Europe, the funding is the groups biggest package of support covering plant-based, cultivate meat and fermentation to date. 

The multi-annual EU funding framework, which will run from 2021 to 2027, contained three projects directly covering this area and followed and open letter from the Good Food Institute Europe and 21 other organisations that called on the European Commission to invest in sustainable protein research and development. 

Acacia Smith, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: 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. 

“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.” 

Horizon Europe projects

The three projects covered in the Horizon Europe funding round included: 

Filling knowledge gaps on nutritional, safety, allergenicity and environmental assessment of alternative proteins and dietary shift 
Budget:​ €11m (£9.4m) 
Aim:​ To develop a more comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of the environmental footprint, sustainability performance and health profiles of foods including plant-based foods, cultivated meat and proteins made using fermentation.  
 

Developing sustainable and competitive land-based protein crop systems and value chains 
Budget: ​€9m (£7.7m) 
Aim: ​To build the business case for protein crops, facilitating best-practice sharing between farmers, and developing value chains in order to increase protein crop production and address food security concerns.  
  

Building alternative protein-friendly sustainable and healthy food environments 
Budget:​ €12m (£10.3m) 
Aim:​ To ensure that food environments such as restaurants and supermarkets offer healthy, delicious, sustainable and affordable protein options (other than conventionally produced meat and dairy) to help consumers make better food choices. 

“Existing research shows that cultivating meat from cells could cut the climate impact of meat by up to 92%, reduce air pollution by up to 93%, and use up to 95% less land and 78% less water,”​ said Horizon Europe. 

“Plant-based meat has been found to emit up to 90% less greenhouse gas, cause up to 91% less pollution, and use up to 99% less land and water, than conventionally produced meat.”    

Applications for any of the above grants can be made through Horizon Europe’s online portal.​  

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