The German Bundestag’s budget committee has announced that it will allocate 38 million euros in funding next year for the sustainable protein transition.
Germany is poised to follow countries like Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands, which have provided massive funding this year to become global leaders in the emerging crop-based agriculture sector plants, cell culture and microbes, which allows agriculture that respects the climate and animals. protein production by decoupling protein production from agriculture. The budget committee of the German Bundestag has planned 38 million euros to finance sustainable protein transition projects in 2024, members of the government revealed on Friday.
The financing adopted will notably include the promotion of the manufacturing and processing of cultivated and fermented plant proteins, support for the transition to plant-based agriculture, as well as the opening of a “Proteins of the Future” center.
Ivo Rzegotta, Senior Public Affairs Manager Germany at the Good Food Institute (GFI) Europe, welcomes this revolutionary decision which is part of Germany’s nutritional strategy: “With this decision on the protein transition, the coalition is making a major not towards the transition. to a sustainable food system provided for in the coalition agreement. The agreed funding measures for research and processing will enable Germany to become a leader in this emerging field. The announced Proteins of the Future Competence Center offers the opportunity to better coordinate and align work on alternative protein sources in Germany with a strategic goal in the future. Germany needs a roadmap for the transition to more alternative protein sources and such a center can be the first step in developing such a strategy with all relevant departments and stakeholders,” he said. he declared.
So far, isolated financing measures have been taken in Germany in this emerging market. but ambitious companies In the field. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture funds projects on alternative proteins, including research on farmed fish, developed by companies such as Hamburg-based Bluu GmbH. The Federal Ministry of Research funds projects in the innovation area NewFoodSystem and the Cellzero Meat project. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy supports the scaling up of close-to-market projects through its incentive program for the industrial bioeconomy. There are also other small projects at the federal and state level.
However, according to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) from June 2023, funding measures in Germany so far tend to be uncoordinated individual measures that do not follow a coherent global strategy for the development of the sector. and are also significantly lower than those of other countries. Company executives welcomed the initiative, but also made clear that it was a drop in the bucket. “At Lovely Day Foods, we view the German government’s €38 million investment in the protein transition as a very positive signal. However, realizing the full potential of alternative proteins will require a more substantial increase in funding to the future,” said the CEO of the egg protein maker. , Tanja Bogumil, said European biotechnology. “Equally important is the need for rapid, non-bureaucratic distribution of these funds, ensuring rapid and efficient allocation to areas where they are most needed.”
In April 2022, the Netherlands made a record investment of €60 million to develop a cultured meat and precision fermentation ecosystem. Denmark presented the first global strategy for the plant products sector and announced that it would invest the equivalent of 168 million euros in the sector. The UK has announced the creation of an alternative protein research center and is also investing in the sector. France has invested 65 million euros in research and development in the plant sector. With the investments now announced in the 2024 federal budget, Germany joins the group of countries aiming to stimulate the economy. multi-billion dollar sector.
Consolidating activities into a new center of excellence could now enable previously rather dispersed activities to be strategically consolidated and realigned, so that Germany can harness the potential of alternative proteins for climate, environmental protection and public health and position itself as a strong innovation hub in this sector. A first step for the planned new center should be the development of a comprehensive roadmap for the protein transition that sets measurable goals for the development of the sector and sets out what needs to be done by industry and policy to position Germany in first place. by 2030. The roadmap should bring together all relevant aspects of the subject into an overall global strategy: defining research priorities, coordinating public research funding, supporting companies facing regulatory problems, the development of production capacities and the role of farmers in processing.
The aim of the German food strategy is to implement a policy framework within which German food technology companies can quickly start the production of protein alternatives. It is still open if the German government allows it tastings before marketing as the Netherlands has done, and Switzerland and the United Kingdom will soon authorize the development of new protein foods, thanks to a very long EU authorization process of 18 to 48 months. For comparison, marketing authorization in Singapore or the United States takes significantly less than 12 months. Thus, German companies, such as Berlin Formo Bio GmbHwill license its first cheese product made by precision fermentation in Singapore next year. Other companies have already opened production plants in other countries to circumvent the politically unfavorable conditions in Germany.