Plant-based meat

Your guide to the science, business and policy of plant-based meat, eggs, dairy and seafood in Europe.

Plant-based sausage
Photo credit: Beyond Meat
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What is plant-based meat, egg, dairy and seafood?

The new generation of plant-based foods looks, cooks and tastes like meat, eggs, dairy and seafood. 

Food scientists have developed plant-based recipes that deliver the flavour, texture and overall experience of eating meat, without the problems of industrial animal agriculture.

Why do we need plant-based meat?

Plant-based meat delivers the familiar flavour and texture of conventionally produced meat, with a vastly reduced environmental impact, better health outcomes and without harming animals. 

Research has found that moving towards plant-based meat would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. Because making meat directly from plants requires substantially less crops than farming animals for meat, it also uses up to 99% less land and water – potentially freeing up space to protect and restore nature. 

Plant-based meat is also made in clean environments without animals or exposure to faecal pathogens, and no antibiotics are needed – so these foods help to reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases, prevent foodborne illnesses, and preserve life-saving antibiotics for human medicine.

How can we advance plant-based meat in Europe?

Creating the flavours and textures of meat using plants involves finding novel ingredients and using new science and technology. Few of the world’s plant protein sources have been rigorously explored or optimised for plant-based meat, and access to the latest technology is limited – so we are only in the early stages of plant-based meat innovation. 

To maximise the benefits of plant-based foods, we need public investment in research and development focused on enhancing taste, reducing prices, and streamlining supply chains – making these sustainable options the default choice for consumers across Europe.

Plant-based burger

Plant-based meat science

Learn more about the science and technology behind plant-based meat – and the white spaces where more research is needed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, secure and just food system.

The plant-based meat business

Demand for plant-based foods is soaring across Europe, and top supermarkets, restaurants and food producers are investing in expanding their offerings in response.

  • Retail sales of plant-based foods across Europe reached €3.6 billion in 2020 – 28% higher than 2019, and 49% higher than 2018.
  • Germany leads the market, with sales totalling €993 million in 2020. The UK is in second place at €750 million.
  • Plant-based meat sales alone accounted for €1.4 billion in 2020 – up 63% compared with 2018.

Companies interested in delivering the sustainable options European consumers want should invest in plant-based meat.

Woman prepares food at plant-based cafe

Plant-based meat policy

To deliver on their potential to help tackle the climate and ecological emergency, protect public health and enhance food security, plant-based foods need government support.

GFI Europe advocates public investment in plant-based R&D, evidence-based regulation of new foods, and clear labelling rules to help consumers make more sustainable choices.

Latest news on plant-based meat

Collaboration, capacity and craveability – building the roadmap to a sustainable protein future

GFI Europe’s new market research reveals the key challenges facing plant-based and cultivated meat in Europe

Sustainable protein innovation priorities

Infrastructure investment vital for plant-based and cultivated meat industries, according to new research

A study of Europe’s plant-based and cultivated meat industries has found infrastructure investment is required to help the sector expand.

Denmark Parliament supports plant-based investment

Denmark announces 1 billion kroner for plant-based foods in historic climate agreement

The Danish government has announced over 1.25 billion kroner (€168 million) to advance plant-based foods, as part of an unprecedented climate agreement.

Vegan burger with fries

McDonald’s UK launch of McPlant will ‘introduce more people than ever to sustainable food choices’

The Good Food Institute Europe responds to McDonald’s UK launch of a plant-based burger.

UK Parliament

Social Market Foundation report calls for UK government investment in sustainable proteins

The Good Food Institute Europe responds to a new report calling on the UK Government to invest in sustainable proteins to meet its climate targets.

Beyond Meat plant-based meatballs

National Food Strategy calls for £125 million investment in sustainable proteins

The National Food Strategy has called on the UK government to invest £125 million in sustainable protein startups and a new commercial “cluster” for the sector.

Scientist researching plant-based meat

Horizon Europe announces €32 million for sustainable proteins

Horizon Europe has announced €32 million in funding, in its biggest-ever package of support covering plant-based, cultivated meat and fermentation.

Amendment 171 could ban vegan cheese from being described as creamy

EU drops plans for unprecedented restrictions on plant-based dairy

EU leaders have dropped Amendment 171 plans to impose new restrictions on plant-based dairy products, which could have banned them from displaying allergen information, being sold in cartons and using…