Horizon Europe announces €25 million for sustainable proteins

7 December 2022

Horizon Europe has announced €25 million in funding for research into sustainable proteins.

Biologist researching plants

Horizon Europe has announced €25 million in funding for research into sustainable proteins.

The EU’s flagship research and innovation programme contains three projects in the 2023/ 2024 work programme directly covering cultivated meat and fermentation based foods.

But dozens of other projects within the multi-billion Euro funding programme are also relevant to researchers who want to develop delicious and affordable sustainable proteins.

Compared with conventional meat production, cultivated meat can cut the climate impact of meat by up to 92% and use up to 95% less land and 78% less water, while research has shown replacing 20% of beef with fermentation-made meat could halve global deforestation.

Acacia Smith, senior policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “Europe is home to some of the world’s best scientists, and this funding will help spark real innovation in cultivated meat and fermentation, making sure these sustainable foods are delicious and accessible to nearly half a billion Europeans.

“It’s great to see the EU is investing in the continent’s incredible research expertise to accelerate Europe’s shift to a sustainable, secure and just food system and make sure farmers are part of this transition. We now need to see national governments following this example and investing in the research and infrastructure needed to advance these foods.”

The sustainable protein projects:

Cultured meat and cultured seafood – state of play and future prospects in the EU
Budget: €7 million.
Aim: Study how to reduce the high costs of infrastructure and raw materials currently needed for cultivated meat, how to scale up in a cost effective way, and identify solutions to improve the economic viability of this new food. This call also involves studying different scenarios around the potential consumer acceptance of cultivated meat and seafood, conducting life cycle analysis of the sustainability of each scenario, and looking into the potential challenges and opportunities for farmers and aqua-farmers.  

Microbiome for flavour and texture in the organoleptic dietary shift
Budget: €9 million.
Aim: This call includes creating fermentation-based ingredients to improve the flavours and textures of plant-based meat, dairy and fish products, piloting new precision fermentation techniques and developing new biomass production methods.

Impact of the development of novel foods based on alternative sources of proteins
Budget: €9 million.
Aim: Assess the potential of foods including algae-based products and microbial proteins to address European Green Deal objectives, including environmental goals, compared to conventional meat and dairy, as well as their production cost and consumer acceptance.

Are you a researcher working in these areas? Apply for Horizon Europe funding under these projects.