The German government has promised an investment of $41 million USD (€38 million) to promote plant-based foods and alternative proteins.
Dr Zoe Mayer, an Alliance90/Green Party MP, announced the plan in mid-November. As a result, Germany will see a boost in funding for plant-based, precision-fermented, and cell-cultivated proteins in the 2024 budget.
With the environmental and health impacts of meat becoming ever harder to ignore, Germany is the latest country to invest heavily in the transition towards a plant-based future. In October, Denmark unveiled a roadmap to make its food system more plant-based. Meanwhile, the Swiss government has encouraged its citizens to reduce their meat consumption.
ProVeg, a food awareness organization, described the move as “groundbreaking.” Jens Tuider, Strategic Director of ProVeg International, said: “The German government is setting the stage for a transformative shift in protein consumption.”
A four-step plan for plant-based protein
The new investment in alternative proteins follows a Food and Nutrition Strategy released in December 2022 by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).
In it, BMEL stated that the strategy’s primary goal was to “promote healthier, more resource-conserving and more plant-based dietary choices.” Now, with the new announcement, the German government is putting its money where its mouth is.
Germany’s government outlined how it intends to fund the transition to a plant-based future in four steps:
- Assisting in phasing out animal husbandry and transitioning to plant-based, fermented and cell-cultivated proteins for human consumption (€20 million)
- Promoting innovative methods for the production and processing of plant-based, fermented, and cell-cultivated proteins (€10 million)
- Promoting the production of proteins directly for human nutrition rather than animal feeds (€8 million)
- Setting up a center to research future proteins and work with stakeholders
“This investment signifies a critical step forward,” Tuider said. “Thanks to this decision, we will finally be able to use proteins effectively in the future.
Prioritizing the switch towards a plant-based food system “puts Germany in an excellent position to maximize the opportunities offered by sustainable protein supply,” Tuider added. Consequently, this will allow Germany to “generate future-proof employment and establish leadership in innovation in a rapidly expanding global market.”
Germans have an appetite for plant-based proteins
Research has found that Germans are eating less meat than at any point since records began. Only 20 percent of Germans consume meat daily. Moreover, 46 percent of people are consciously limiting their meat intake.
To cater to this growing demand for vegan alternatives, farmers in the German state of Lower Saxony were recently offered incentives to move away from pig farming.
Germany would be an unsurprising pioneer of a plant-based future. The country has consistently been voted as one of the most vegan-friendly countries in the world. Indeed, Berlin has long been ranked as Europe’s vegan capital, with hundreds of vegan restaurants sprawling across the capital.
Young people are at the forefront of the growth of veganism in Germany, with a rising awareness of the environmental and ethical problems of meat consumption.