Enhancing the potential of plant-based proteins in Europe
The transition towards sustainable food systems is essential for addressing the current environmental and climate challenges faced by the European agricultural sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the great resilience of the European agriculture, which was consistently able to supply our citizens with sufficient, safe, affordable and high-quality food. Maintaining functioning, sustainable, and resilient food supply chains is crucial for our future.
In order to face these challenges, both France and Austria have developed national protein strategies. The Austrian and French strategies include several measures fostering the production of plant-based proteins. These measures aim at increasing sustainable production, leveraging the positive impacts of the cultivation of plant-based proteins on the climate and the environment, and address food aspects such as processing capacities, research and innovation. However, the protein sector as well as research and sustainable innovation have to be further strengthened at European level.
- strengthen domestic production of plant-based proteins that meet our high European standards;
- shorten transportation routes with regional supply chains, ensure the logistical development of this sector and secure a functioning and regional value chain including processing capacities for food and feed;
- contribute to making protein crops fit for future by effective plant breeding tailored to the individual needs of all the actors, from farmer to processor and consumer;
- promote the diversification of protein intake by eating legumes from local production in line with official recommendations on nutrition and health;
- jointly bring this topic before the Standing Committee for Agricultural Research (SCAR) and support research and innovation, in particular through collaborative and trans-national research programmes on plant proteins and nitrogen cycle in the Horizon Europe programme.
We therefore call on the European Commission to build upon its report on the development of plant proteins in the European Union published in 2018 and to work out a European protein strategy taking into account the national efforts of Member States.Declaration by the Agricultural Ministers of France Julien Denormandie and of Austria Elisabeth Köstinger on Plant-Based Proteins
Such strategy should be in line with and support the goals of the Green Deal and cover all aspects from boosting sustainable production to securing an effective processing sector for food and feed. This should also include the support of research and innovation.
The European seed sector stands ready to support the ramping up of both the demand and the production of EU grown plant sourced protein.
In July 2021, Euroseeds Protein Plan Task Force has launched a position paper presenting insights on how breeders can support improving the quantity and the quality of the EU protein production.
Euroseeds, considering the Green Deal and the related Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies and related objectives, calls on the European Commission to take a leading role in promoting the domestic cultivation and use of plant sourced protein.