Government has a low level of investment in alternative protein, say industry experts

by | Sep 14, 2022 | News

 If Aotearoa New Zealand is to succeed in the increasingly competitive alt protein space, we need to do more and faster, says food science hub FoodHQ.

FoodHQ has released a report providing a summary of what governments in ten countries are doing to support the development of their alternative proteins sectors. The report is called: ‘Government investment in the opportunities of alternative proteins: what are other countries doing and how does Aotearoa New Zealand compare?’. It uses this information to evaluate country’s overall level of commitment and the key drivers behind it.

The countries evaluated in the report (in order of government investment into alternative proteins) are Singapore, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the UK, Ireland, NZ and Sweden.

According to FoodHQ, New Zealand currently has no specific strategy, targets or goals related to the role of alternative proteins within its agrifood sector. It has a low level of government investment as a percentage of agriculture-related GDP (0.23%), and its regulatory framework has not been designed with alternative proteins in mind. It scored one out of five stars in the overall assessment of government commitment.

The report follows ‘Emerging Proteins in Aotearoa New Zealand: what will it take for the sector to thrive?’ which FoodHQ published in May 2021. This concluded that if Aotearoa New Zealand was to succeed in this increasingly competitive space, we needed to do more and do it faster.

Dr Abby Thompson, FoodHQ CEO, says that a common question arising from the earlier report has been ‘what are other countries and governments doing?’

“Estimates of private sector investment into the alternative proteins sector can be found fairly readily online, with the Good Food Institute reporting $5 B USD went into the sector in 2022 alone, up 60% on the $3.1 B USD in 2021” says Dr Thompson.

“The contribution of governments to the development of the sector can take a variety of forms, from financial investment through to specific acknowledgement in national agrifood strategies and the introduction of supportive regulatory frameworks. We were unable to find an existing summary of government support for the alternative proteins sector across different countries, and so compiled this report.”

Thompson says that it is important to note that the report does not seek to judge whether the choices each government has made are the ‘correct’ choices for that country, nor does it provide advice on recommendations or next steps.

“However, this report does make it clear that governments in other countries are investing in their alternative proteins sectors at much higher rates than what is happening in New Zealand.” she says. “We hope that collating and sharing this information may help our government accelerate its own decision making regarding how (or if) it chooses to engage in this rapidly moving new agrifood sector.”

FoodHQ is a food science and innovation hub headquartered in Manawatu, New Zealand with funding partners representing leaders in science, education and business. FoodHQ was established in 2013, building on the history of food and agricultural research dating back to the formation of Massey Agricultural College in 1926.

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