GFI calls for UK to become world leader in cultivated meat at parliamentary event

19 May 2022

GFI Europe and Ivy Farm Technologies call for greater investment in cultivated meat research and a more collaborative regulatory process at an event in the UK Parliament.

GFI Europe Policy Manager Elena Walden speaking at the UK Parliament
Elena Walden speaking at the UK Parliamentary event

The Good Food Institute Europe yesterday joined Ivy Farm Technologies to lay out the need for greater investment in cultivated meat research and a more collaborative regulatory process at an event in the UK Parliament.

The event featured MPs and peers from across all parties, eager to learn more about the science and discuss the need for an enabling regulatory framework so Britain can assert itself as a ‘world-leader’ in the burgeoning alternative protein sector. Cultivated meat is real meat like beef, pork and chicken – but grown directly from animal cells. 

Guests at the event, which was hosted by Anthony Browne MP, heard from Elena Walden, Policy Manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, and Ivy Farm co-founder Dr Russ Tucker about how cultivated meat has the potential to be a game-changer, for the climate, for food security and for the UK economy. But these benefits will only be realised if the government moves quickly.

The reception featured other key players in this burgeoning sector, talking about how UK regulation and investment in open-access research can unleash its growth potential, including Peter Quigley, Deputy Director of Regulatory Services (Interim) at the Food Standards Agency, the regulator which has oversight over novel foods in the UK. Other British companies were also present, including representatives from Roslin Technologies, Multus Media, CellulaREvolution, Waitrose and Nomad Foods.

Cultivated meat causes up to 92% less carbon emissions, requires up to 95% less land than conventional animal farming and is free from antibiotics. It can also lead to greater food security – developing it in the UK would enable a reduction the £6.6 billion per annum of meat the country imports each year, some of which comes from parts of the world with lower animal welfare practices and a higher carbon footprint compared to UK produced meat.

The cultivated meat sector also has the potential to contribute up to £523 million in tax revenue and add £2.1 billion to the UK’s economy by 2030. Research by Oxford Economics suggests the industry can also create almost 16,500 jobs, including 8,300 highly skilled jobs over the next decade.

Elena Walden, Policy Manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “It’s impossible for the UK to reach net zero by 2050 without addressing emissions from our food system. But there’s no need for ministers to impose restrictions on what people eat. Cultivated meat can deliver the meat people want with a fraction of the environmental impact, while freeing up land for more sustainable farming, and creating green jobs across the UK. 

“But to realise these benefits, the government must invest in open-access research to accelerate progress and ensure our world-leading universities are at the forefront of sustainable protein science – just as they did with renewable energy.”

Dr Russ Tucker, co-founder of Ivy Farm Technologies, said: “The UK government is a leading power in the global fight against the worst effects of climate change, and by adapting the way we farm and eat we can make a huge impact on how well the nation rises to this challenge. But the cultivated meat industry doesn’t just have huge environmental benefits, it also presents some great economic opportunities, too.

“It is therefore absolutely crucial that we have the regulatory framework to support its growth and to make the UK a world-leader in food technology. Without that, the UK is in danger of being left behind or worse still, UK companies will be forced to set up abroad.”

Learn more about GFI Europe’s work in the UK.