‘Look beyond conventional protein sources’: Insect and algae groups call for recognition in EU protein policy

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Industry organisations representing European insect and algae manufacturers have called on policy makers to form a plan to boost the development of ‘new’ protein sources in Europe.

Last week, the European Union announced a new push to promote the domestic production and consumption of soy, chickpeas, lentils and rapeseed​. However, the umbrella organisations representing the algae and insect production sectors, the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA) and the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), noted that these ‘new’ protein sources have been left off the EU’s agenda.

“As representative organizations for the algae and insect production sectors, we do welcome the European Commission plans to develop plant protein production in the EU. We do however believe that the EU institutions should look beyond vegetal or conventional protein sources, and notably explore possible synergies with ‘new’ proteins sources,”​ IPIFF President Antoine Hubert argued.

A ‘decisive role’

EABA president Vitor Verdelho insisted that supporting the growth of ‘new’ protein sources like algae and insects will be crucial if the EU is to address its looming protein deficit.

“Complementary sources of protein sources such as algae and insects can play a decisive role to reduce nutrient deficiencies in animal feed formula or to complement consumers’ diets’.

“Yet, in view of their potential to be fully exploited, EU Policy makers should develop a wide EU Action Plan which would also comprise appropriate measures targeting at those sectors,”​ he argued.

The EABA and IPIFF have joined forces to promote a set of concrete proposals, including “first and foremost”​ the establishment of “appropriate”​ EU funding measures for cross sectorial collaborations, including R&D projects and industry association tenures to foster and upscale these emerging industries.

“All available options to close the current knowledge gaps and barriers to the uptake of these new solutions​,” they said.

The groups are also “pleading”​ for EU-backed information campaigns to raise awareness on “the existence and advantages​” of new protein sources, while promoting the benefits of eating a variety of protein sources for EU consumers.

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1 comment

Challenges for "alternative" alternative proteins

Posted by Stuart,

Here where I live, beef is so dominant a protein, chicken is considered a vegetable.

It's tough enough to get consumers to think about soy, pea, rapeseed and almond milk, beverages and foods, never mind cricket and algae.

Yes, the EU should support these "alternative" alternative proteins in research but, if resources are limited, they are right to focus on the low hanging fruit encouraging soy, pea, and rapeseed etc. proteins to gain acceptance in the market as ingredients.

One way to do this is implement a carbon and/or environmental tax on environmentally unfriendly proteins such as beef, pork, chicken, and dairy milk and whey protein. Make sure these pay their fair share of the environmental and climate changes costs they are causing.

Honestly, the only way cricket and algae proteins are going to make it on any scale commercially is if we do end up in some dystopian future world like in the movie Bladerunner 2049 where all other protein sources have been extinguished. Other than that, the EU is right to focus on the leading plant proteins.

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