A group of leading players in precision fermentation announce they have come together to form Food Fermentation Europe (FFE), a new alliance working to create a more resilient and sustainable food system in Europe. Representing the region’s fermentation food and food ingredient sector, along with its surrounding ecosystem, FFE says it will work with regulators to bring more sustainable animal-free foods to the European market.
“A much-needed step towards giving fermentation-enabled food technologies a voice in key policy arenas”
FFE’s founding members include Better Dairy, Formo, Imagindairy, Onego Bio and Those Vegan Cowboys. The group says its members are united in the pursuit to improve current unsustainable food systems and have three primary objectives:
- To raise awareness and build a supportive, forward-looking policy framework for fermentation food and food ingredients in Europe.
- To advocate for a predictable, non-discriminatory and market-based regulatory framework for fermentation food and food ingredients to enable fair competition among market players.
- To act as a center of expertise to inform policymakers and stakeholders about the importance of the sector, and work in partnership with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to more sustainable food systems.
According to the Alliance, the EU is currently developing a new Sustainable Food Systems Framework for food production and consumption and Europe, and demand for tasty and nutritious animal-free foods is rapidly growing. Despite this, the group states policy objectives of the Green New Deal and the regulatory process for Novel Foods (which includes food made via precision fermentation) are not aligned. FFE also states that current regulatory processes, which are lengthy and unclear, urgently need change to facilitate market access.
Without these changes, the group believes Europe will risk falling behind in the global race for sustainable food innovation.
The “right time”
“This is a critical time for the EU’s agri-food sector,” said Christian Poppe, Spokesperson for Food Fermentation Europe and Director Global Public Affairs at Formo. “Not only do we need to become more sustainable, but we also need to ensure that new innovations can break through and come to market to make sure the EU remains competitive globally.”
He adds, “Food fermentation products can meet both of these challenges by providing great new animal-free products for people, with drastically less environmental footprint than their alternatives. Now is the right time for our Alliance and we are committed to working with EU decision.”
FFE states consumer choice will help drive sustainable food systems, but consumers cannot be expected to switch to new animal-free products that are not available. The group also estimates significant growth potential for the sector, citing a study showing alternative proteins will represent 11% of all protein consumption by 2035. With the support of regulators, FFE states, this new protein market could command 22% of the global market in the same time span.
Better market approval
“As Food Fermentation Europe we will advocate for a predictable and more efficient market approval process,” says Maija Itkonen, CEO of Onego Bio.”Regulations and policies need to be aligned with the legislative framework for Sustainable Food Systems if Europe wants to stay globally competitive with regard to sustainable food innovation.”
She continued, “The members of Food Fermentation Europe all have excellent science-based products with high market traction and great sustainable impact potential. Contrary to the assumption of the EU, we are well-funded and know how to make money out of science. The question is, how can the EU improve its market approval process for sustainable food innovation?”
“Establishing Food Fermentation Europe is a timely and much-needed step towards giving fermentation-enabled food technologies a voice in key policy arenas and debates,” comments Raffael Wohlgensinger, CEO of Formo.”We are excited to launch this with our industry peers and can’t wait to engage with everyone who shares our vision of creating an innovation-friendly policy framework that enables the emergence of a sustainable, equitable and resilient agri-food system.
He adds, “Europe still has a chance to become an accelerator of helping the bioeconomy to be a catalyst for safe, sustainable and animal-free fermentation foods – but it needs to take radical policy action immediately.”
FFE states any organization currently in the food precision fermentation space can apply for membership.
“If we’re smart about fermentation, 8 billion people can eat well, off just 40% of the farmland in use today,” stated Jaap Korteweg, Organic Farmer, CEO Those Vegan Cowboys. “Circular, organic, plant-based and in balance. Freeing the animal from our food system relieves our farmers from the societal burdens they’ve come to bear – they can reclaim their role as true herders of the land. The faster we can make this happen, the better, and this alliance will definitely make a difference.”