UK, London. British non-profit organisation The Social Market Foundation (SMF) criticised the UK government’s inertia in developing a strategy for the emerging alternative protein market.
In its recent report, the SMF calls on policymakers to help catalyse a consumer-led transition to more sustainable forms of protein.
The self-proclaimed think tank stated that British Government departments lack a coherent approach to policies on alternative protein, meaning British productive capacity is likely to lag against other economies. The NGO pointed out that China recently adopted a five-year plan to support cultivated meat, while Denmark and the Netherlands are spending hundreds of millions of euros on research and development.
The SMF calculated that vegetable and plant-based alternatives were equivalent to 4% of total meat sales in 2021, worth around £1.5bn. Last year British alternative protein businesses attracted over £150 million of capital investment.
The SMF said UK alternative protein policy was underdeveloped and underfunded, with responsibility scattered between the Department for the Environment, Food and Agriculture, the Department for Business, and the Cabinet Office. Ministers have failed to grip the issue despite identifying alternative proteins as a post-Brexit “opportunity”, the SMF said.
Linus Pardoe, SMF research associate, said: “The Government has pointed to alternative proteins as an archetypal Brexit opportunity. But current inertia in Whitehall risks squandering opportunities for British businesses, offshoring the benefits of sustainable proteins to countries like China, Denmark, and the Netherlands.”
Source: The Social Market Foundation