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A new alliance has been launched to urge European leaders to put plant-based foods at the heart of its food policy to ensure the transition towards a more sustainable and healthy food system. The organisation is calling for new laws to recognise the role of plant-based foods, investments in innovation in the industry, and clear regulations to ensure that consumers can make conscious and well-informed food choices.
Launched on Thursday (September 24), the non-profit membership-based European Alliance for Plant-based Foods (EAPF) is calling on European Union (EU) leaders to place plant-based foods at the centre of its plans for a more sustainable food system and the bloc’s wider sustainability ambitions outlined under the EU Green Deal.
“Plant-based foods have a central role to play,” said the EAPF in a press release. “They concretely contribute to reaching the environmental goals of the EU Green Deal and the agri-food transition set forth in the Farm to Fork Strategy along the whole food value chain.”
Earlier this year, the EU proposed its dramatic 10-year plan to tackle both biodiversity loss and build a more sustainable and crisis-resilient food system. One part of the plan is the Farm to Fork Strategy, which set aside concrete targets such as reducing the use of pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics, promoting organic agriculture, and investing in alternative protein research – including developing marine and insect-based proteins, which are not slaughter-free, as well as plant-based, cell-based and microbial-based alternatives.
Through EAPF, Upfield’s ambition is to ensure plant-based food policy is aligned with the Farm to Fork Strategy and that the future regulatory framework is consistent with the EU’s progressive food system policy initiatives.Dr. Jeanette Fielding, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communication Officer at Upfield
EAPF is now calling for lawmakers to provide more choices for consumers to diversify their diets with foods that are healthy, environmentally-friendly and ethical, to increase investment into research and innovation for novel plant-based and sustainable food products, and to incentivise farmers to revalorise their business model by transitioning to plant-based crop production.
The coalition is currently the first and only European multi-stakeholder group that brings together different companies, scientific researchers and nonprofit organisations across the entire plant-based value chain, though similar initiatives have been established in other regions, including Food Frontier in Australia and New Zealand, and the U.S.-based Plant Based Food Association (PBFA).
In Europe, we need plant-based meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood to deliver tasty and affordable food that consumers want. These products are crucial for Europe’s transition to a more healthy and sustainable food system. EU policy-making has a huge role to play in enabling this transition.Alexander Holst, Policy Manager at GFI Europe
EAPF’s founding members include Nestlé, food tech giant Beyond Meat, Barcelona-based plant-based meat startup Heura, Swedish oat milk maker Oatly, the parent group of multiple dairy-free butter and spreads Upfield, the European Medical Association, and advocacy NGOs World Animal Protection (WAP), the Good Food Institute (GFI) and ProVeg International.
“Through EAPF, Upfield’s ambition is to ensure plant-based food policy is aligned with the Farm to Fork Strategy and that the future regulatory framework is consistent with the EU’s progressive food system policy initiatives,” said Dr. Jeanette Fielding, head of corporate affairs and communication officer at Upfield.
“In Europe, we need plant-based meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood to deliver tasty and affordable food that consumers want. These products are crucial for Europe’s transition to a more healthy and sustainable food system. EU policy-making has a huge role to play in enabling this transition,” added Alexander Holst, policy manager at GFI Europe. “We are thrilled to be a founding member of the European Alliance for Plant-based Foods and to raise our voices in support of a better food system.”
Lead image courtesy of Nestlé / Garden Gourmet.