Food Supply: Proteins

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th June 2022.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to fund research into development of the sustainable protein sector.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) current size and (b) size within the next five years of the sustainable proteins market.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of developing a national sustainable protein strategy for the UK.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Alternative proteins are often credited with having higher sustainability credentials compared to traditional proteins of animal origin. The alternative proteins category of foods includes plant-based meat and dairy substitutes, fermented and cultivated meat and seafood and novel food sources (insects, algae and jellyfish) not routinely consumed in the Western diet.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the size of the alternative protein market but recognises that developing this sector could support UK growth. Though no assessment has been made of the potential merits of developing a national alternative protein strategy, the recently published Government Food Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition and priorities for the food system, including for alternative proteins.

On research we are making significant investment to unlock innovation and translate our world leading research into practical, farmer-led solutions that improve productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience, and which move towards net zero emission farming systems.

We have several funding programmes open to industry as well as our own farming and food science research. These funding streams address key areas such as soil systems and land management, regenerative agriculture, sustainable feed and pest management, automation, alternative proteins, and precision farming.

As stated in the Government’s Food Strategy, through funding we will support progress on a wide range of issues, including alternative proteins and progress on gene editing. We will also work with the FSA to develop dedicated guidance materials for approval of new alternative protein products while reviewing our novel food regulations. This will ensure they are transparent for innovators and investors, whilst maintaining world-leading consumer safety standards.

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