Environmental group Green Alliance has claimed that the UK alt protein industry has the potential to be worth over £6.8 billion per year and create 25,000 jobs by 2035.
In an analysis, Green Alliance said the UK could be a world leader in alternative proteins with the right support from the government. According to the group, the country has several competitive advantages, including significant customer demand for alt protein products, a well-established industry, and high food quality and safety standards.
Furthermore, the UK already has clusters of alt protein production, most notably in Teesside, Cambridge, Oxford, and London. Green Alliance names British brand Quorn as a success story, as it is one of the largest producers of fermented proteins worldwide. The UK is also a leader in life sciences and agri-tech research.
More investment needed
However, Green Alliance warns that other countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and China are currently investing far more in alt protein production than the UK. The group is urging the government to support research and infrastructure to scale up production in the industry, along with providing funding to ensure alternative proteins are healthier than animal products.
Other suggested policies include granting at least £250 million to the production clusters mentioned above, as well as building on links between farmers and alt protein companies. Green Alliance believes that not enough has been done since the National Food Strategy recommended investing in alternative proteins two years ago.
Shaping the industry
There are some indications that the UK is already recognising the benefits of the alternative proteins industry. For example, politicians are currently considering reforming novel foods regulations to speed up the approval of alt protein products, which is another of Green Alliance’s recommendations.
The government has also invested £12 million into a cellular agriculture hub to produce cultivated proteins at scale, and has committed £16 million to sustainable protein research. However, policymakers have been criticised for not going far enough, with the net zero plan published earlier this year failing to place enough emphasis on alternatives to meat and dairy.
“Reducing meat consumption in favour of alternative sources of protein can have substantial benefits for the climate and the natural environment,” said Cameron Witten, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance. “It’s been two years since the National Food Strategy recommended investing in this industry, capitalising on our competitive advantage. Supporting the research and infrastructure needed to scale up production now would give the UK the power to shape how the industry develops and maximise the benefits for the country.”alternative proteins alt protein meat protein alternative dairy cellular fermented alt investing funding investment industry