HomeInnovationAlternative proteins, Horizon4Proteins indicates eight urgent measures 

Alternative proteins, Horizon4Proteins indicates eight urgent measures 

Horizon4Proteins – a group of consortia participating in the research projects NextGenProteins, SusinChain, ProFuture, Smart Protein, Giant Leaps and Like-a-Pro, in Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe – proposes to the European Commission the adoption of eight urgent measures to encourage the development of the market for alternative proteins to animal proteins, in the 'policy brief' to follow.

Horizon4Proteins

At the end of the treatment who join Horizon4Proteins – universities, research institutes, industries and non-profit associations – are dedicated to the analysis and development of innovative proteins, exploring different opportunities. Plant chains, microalgae, insects, bacterial single-cell proteins, etc.

Entry and success of these foods on the 'mass market', however, requires collaboration on the part of the institutions, which should adopt urgent measures in the various areas of consumer information, regulation of novel foods and functional ingredients, taxation and financing.

The role of alternative proteins

'Development of alternative proteins has emerged as a powerful strategy to mitigate climate change, improve food security, reduce food waste and promote healthier diets. 

Both IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), in their latest reports, highlight the role of plant-based diets in climate mitigation and adaptation' (Lucia Hortelano, ProVeg International, Policy Officer).

Eight key actions

The Old Continent it is still not very permeable to innovation in the agri-food supply chains, as we have seen. (1) The Horizon4Proteins 'policy brief' therefore indicates eight crucial areas of intervention, which should be considered by the various DGs of the European Commission to encourage the harmonious development of the sector.

1) Labeling and marketing standards

Improve marketing and labeling standards for food products and alternative proteins, ensuring accessibility and clarity for consumers.

2) Conventional names

Allow the use of dairy names even for non-dairy products, providing essential health and allergen information.

3) Definitions at European level

Establish clear and consistent definitions across the EU for vegetarian and vegan food products, to help consumers make informed choices.

4) Sustainability labeling on the front of the package

Introduce mandatory sustainability labelling, on the front of the package, to raise consumer awareness of the value of sustainable choices.

5) Functional natural ingredients

Simplify and harmonize the regulations for the use of functional natural ingredients derived from plants and microalgae, reducing the administrative and economic burdens borne by operators.

6) Fair tax system

Address the imbalance in taxation by introducing common VAT rates in the EU to reduce the final consumer prices of plant-based foods with a lower ecological footprint. 0% for fruit, vegetables and legumes (organic, ed.).

7) Support measures, including research

Leverage EU public funding mechanisms to accelerate the shift to food systems with a greater emphasis on plant-based options.

8) Review the regulation on novel foods

Review the Novel Foods Regulation to reduce regulatory barriers that currently prevent and/or slow down the entry of alternative proteins into the EU market for years.

The role of public procurement

Horizon4Proteins It also states the need to involve Green Public Procurement to support the shift to plant-based and sustainable diets. This includes integrating plant-based foods into the EU's minimum criteria for sustainable public procurement and considering sustainability standards for fortified plant-based products.

More funding for research

The Policy Brief of Horizon4Proteins highlights the need to increase funding for research and development for innovation in plant-based and alternative proteins. The EU's climate and sustainability objectives are heavily dependent on agri-food systems.

An open discussion

The Horizon4Proteins consortium welcomes requests for information and further discussions on these essential policy actions and stands ready to contribute to the transformation of the alternative protein sector in the EU.

Dario Dongo

Footnotes

(1) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. Horizon4Proteins. Protein research compared with EU policies and rules. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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