Global Food Institute 2022 State of Global Policy Report: Policymakers Urged to Increase Funding for Alternative Proteins

The Good Food Institute (GFI) has released its annual State of Global Policy report covering the landscape of public investment, support, and regulations of plant-based, cultivated, and fermented foods in 2022, including global highlights from the first six months of 2023.
“Policymakers should consider increasing funding for research and development and product commercialisation”.

Governments, understanding the positive impact that alternative proteins can have on the environment, economy, and food security, have invested and implemented policies that impact the alt protein industry’s development necessary to feed a growing population on a planet with limited resources.

GLOBAL PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR ALT PROTEINS

Public funding for alternative proteins increased significantly worldwide, with governments doubling their investments in 2022 alone, reaching a total of $635 million: approximately $180 million in R&D, $290 million in commercialization, and $165 million on initiatives involving both.

PLANT-BASED INITIATIVES

Denmark has taken a significant step towards achieving its climate goals by encouraging farmers to cultivate protein-rich crops, the report says. In a ground-breaking move, the country made a substantial investment of DKK 675m ($99.4m) in a Plant Fund to bolster the growth of its plant-based food industry.

In Canada, investments in the plant-based industry reached over CAD 171 million ($127 million) by the end of 2022. Invest in Canada, a governmental organization that attracts investments, has been promoting the country’s agribusiness capabilities.

The report also mentions Australia as an emerging leader. The government granted AUD 113 million ($74.6 million) to build three plant protein facilities and develop a regional presence in the industry.

Sweden’s Environmental Protection Agency, part of the European Union’s investment program Next Generation EU, invested SEK150 million ($14.5 million) in a plant-based protein processing facility operated by a farmer-owned collective.

CULTIVATED MEAT MILESTONES

In the USA, President Joe Biden called on federal agencies to produce reports on biotechnology (including cultivated meat) promoting the industry. Following the latest USDA market approvals the USA became the second country (after Singapore) to allow the production and commercialization of cultivated meat.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) became the third regulatory body to receive an application for cultivated meat

The Netherlands invested €60 million ($66.2 million) in a new cellular agriculture fund – believed to be the largest public funding for the industry – which will finance research, workforce training, and commercialization.

The report also highlights South Korea as a newcomer in the alt protein industry. The country’s investments in alternative proteins include $15 million for cultivated meat and an undisclosed grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs to commercialize plant-based pork belly made by one of Korea’s leading food companies.

FERMENTATION APPROVALS

Israel recently granted regulatory approval for the country’s first precision fermentation-animal-free protein and the Israel Innovation Authority recently announced a NIS 50 million ($14 million) investment to build a fermentation facility. Additionally, Israel launched what the GFI says is the largest government-backed cultivated meat consortium involving top food producers and academic labs.

Continuing its 30×30 strategy, Singapore has invested in cultivated meat and granted regulatory approval to more products, seeking to forge international partnerships to develop new technologies, says the report.

REGULATIONS

In court decisions on labelling restrictions in 2022, attempts to limit the sales of alternative protein products have been largely dismissed, reversed, or temporarily halted. However, there is still an ongoing ban on plant-based cheese in Turkey, says the report.

In China — one of the world’s biggest meat consumers —the nation’s first-ever five-year plan to boost the bioeconomy called for exploring alternative proteins as novel foods.

“Governments increased their financial, political, and regulatory support for alternative proteins in 2022 but have yet to approach the annual support needed to realize alternative proteins’ benefits to the economy, climate, and global food system. Policymakers should consider increasing funding for research and development and product commercialization, as well as for regulatory instruments to ensure the safe, fair, and reliable entry of alternative proteins to the market,” states the GFI.