Launch

Lord Sarfraz

 

My lords, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Welcome to Parliament. My name is Lord Sarfraz What a turnout. Isn't this amazing? Isn't this incredible? Who would have thought a few years ago that this industry would evolve in this way? Every major food company, every restaurant, every supermarket is thinking about alternative proteins.

 

And it's because of the work of so many of you here in this room that this has become possible. So thank you for everything that you've you've done for this. But for me, the litmus test was if I can convince my mum to get on board, to get on board. And so a few months ago, I said to my mum - and she's a typical Pakistani mum.

 

I said, Mum, “from now on I want my mutton biryani made with alternative protein only.” And she said, "What are you talking about? What is wrong with you?" I said, “Look, I love this stuff. It's really delicious. I really enjoy it.” She said, "I told you you shouldn't have taken that Pfizer jab. It was bad for you!  Alternative proteins are bad for you. You can't. It's not that's not right.” 

 

So I did what any good son would do. I called her over to my house for a barbecue and I made burgers, delicious burgers, mustard, everything, fries. And she had it. And she said, "this meat is delicious. Is it from Ibrahim, the butcher on Edgware Road?” I said, “Yes, it's from Ibrahim the butcher.”

 

And of course, it was it was Beyond Meat. And she loved it. And she's on one. Look, if she can be on board, this is going mainstream. And so thank you, Secretary [for State for Business, Kwasi Kwaterng MP]. Thank you for coming. Thank you very much for that. He's the man. He's the he's the thank you for everything you're doing for us. Thank you. Thank you for coming.

 

I'd like to introduce our keynote speaker for tonight, a great man. For those of you who don't know him, Jeremy Coller none of us would be here today if it wasn't for him. I've loved him for a very long time. He's a great friend, a great mentor, the founder of Coller Capital, a leading private equity firm, founder of FAIRR the largest ESG investor network in the world, now the founder of CPT Capital, which invests in food technology.

 

But his career has been building up to today. As of today. Jeremy, as of today, you are now the president of the Alternative Proteins Association. Welcome. Jeremy.

 

 

 

Jeremy Coller

 

Thank you so much, Lord Sarfraz, for hosting and the kind words. Welcome, everyone, and a particular thank you to Dan O’Neill who helped Lord Sarfraz and I get this done.

 

Welcome to the inaugural event to launch the Alternative Proteins Association. Our mission is very, very simple. The Alternative Proteins Association wants the UK to become the European leader - that includes the rest of the continent - and a global leader in alternative proteins. We've all the ingredients to be a global leader and and also to be a food innovation hub for the world, which is why APA's members include scientists, academics, NGOs, investors, as well as, crucially, the visionary entrepreneurs and companies - everyone across the alternative protein value chain.

 

In fact, the British people are ahead of the game and the legislative landscape. You don't have to be vegetarian or vegan to be against factory farming and to embrace the new food revolution. And we're seeing consumers embrace it. You know, in the USA, just as an example, the alternative milk sales have grown from 1% to over 15% over the last 15 years.

 

That's a huge portion of the dairy sales. For all the reasons Lord Sarfraz mentioned -- you actually didn't mention this, but for all the reasons you should have mentioned -- which was climate, food security, antibiotics and seeing a just transition for farmers. We need to embrace alternatives to factory farming. We're feeding 7.9 billion people annually with 75 billion animals.

 

It's just enormous.

 

Currently, Britain, Great Britain is falling behind the US, Israel and Asia. To just give one example, you can buy an IMPOSSIBLE burger in the U.S. and Asia, but not in Europe or the U.K. You can buy Beyond Meat burger here because it is plant-based. You can't buy IMPOSSIBLE. You can't buy recombinant or cell cultured meat.

 

We need with regulations and improving our regulation to be able to import and export. That's why legislation has to change. You know, it's in our hands. It's actually in our hands to put the UK at the forefront of the food tech revolution. And with the help of the people in this room, we can make it happen.

 

And APA, the Alternative Proteins Association, hopes to do just that. So we have our first call to action. It's for alternative proteins to be considered in the National Food Strategy. That's all alternative proteins, plant based, recombinant and cultivated meat. We are here launching tonight in this beautiful -- well, not so beautiful room -- in Westminster -- in this historic place -- because we need your support. 

 

And ironically - and it's very important for entrepreneurs and politicians and academics to hear this - we don't need capital. There's a huge volume of capital waiting to come to invest and has invested creating almost a bubble, which is a good thing - if you're early. But we don't need capital.

 

What we need in this area - and I can tell you it is urgent, it's urgent - we need an enabling environment now where the legislative landscape is up to date with the science. So I'm delighted to announce the APA, the Alternative Proteins Association dot com, is already the largest association of its kind in Europe on its inauguration. So we have the opportunity.

 

It's in our hands. We have the opportunity to pull off the world's leading research and manufacturing which extends to import exports, trade agreements and national regulations. It's in our hands to make that happen now and to make the UK a global hub. It's in our hands. It's so easy to see. We're also very lucky to have our first advisory board comprised of experts from across the value chain from Benjamin Bollag, Jim Laird, Illtud Dunford, Michael Queen, Jim Mellon and Rosie Wardle - and most importantly, let’s not forget, Lord Sarfraz. 

 

We all know what plant based food is. I'd like to invite Benjamina - founder of Higher Steaks an amazing cultivated meat producer, and Jim Laird, founder of ENOUGH, an incredible Fermented Proteins Produced are based in Glasgow with plans to create the biggest alternative protein factory in Europe - to say a few words. So Benjamina and Jim, if you would, kindly join us.

 

 

Jim Laird

 

Thank you, Jeremy, Lord Sarfraz, that's a very tough act to follow.

 

Jeremy just said that we should be the pioneers or leading food tech. I think through the late 20th century and the early 21st century, the UK undoubtedly led this market space and pioneered the growth in this market. And brands such as Quorn Linda McCartney were absolutely leaders in this field. It's undeniable that in the last decade Impossible Foods Beyond Meat has taken some of that lustre.

 

And it's for that reason that we are greatly enthused by the existence of the APA and the full representation of the full value chain here this evening. As Jeremy says, when scientists, academics, manufacturers, retailers, investors, and maybe most importantly, all of us as consumers as well. The APA, the Alternative Protein Association, has a crucial role to bring us together, to help us strategize, to collaborate, and most importantly, to rekindle the UK's role as leading in this space.

 

And in so doing, we do share our mission. We share a mission to make great tasting food, to make great tasting food that is delicious, nutritious, and does give that credible alternative to protein from the animal and maybe even more compellingly protein from intensive animal farming. I think the UK consumer continues to lead in this market and one of the stats that was just mentioned is that within five years, one in four of us will be vegan or vegetarian, and within a decade, or by 2030, the share of the protein landscape will be 10% from non-animal protein with 2%, a meagre 2% today.

 

So there's this massive transformation coming and therefore a compelling reason why we in the UK or the Alternative Protein Association have to play our role and have to leverage our capabilities. And the UK is blessed with many capabilities, technology solutions, skills, academic institutions, agricultural land that can grow all sorts of crops. We are self-sufficient in wheat. We are a net exporter with the second largest producer of pea and along with oats, mushrooms, barley.

 

These are the ingredients that make the great tasting vegan alternatives a great tasting food. I'm grateful to Jeremy and to Lord Sarfraz. I'm CEO of ENOUGH. We fervently believe in the merits of fermentation and fermented biomass as a technology that makes the most sustainable source of protein that's scalable and is ready to make today. In that context, we are building the largest I think the largest in the world.

 

So the largest new protein facility anywhere globally. It is in the Netherlands. And by the end of this year, we will be growing five cows worth of protein every hour. Within five years, we aspire that will be a cow's worth of protein every 2 minutes. And I absolutely accept that many in the room would enthuse that we were building this in the UK rather than Holland.

 

And I look forward to the change in the environment that the manufacturing landscape in the UK and the growth of alternative proteins such as our future manufacturing capacity, actively embraces manufacturing in the UK alongside other areas and talking to colleagues a moment ago it's about the UK's role for both technology solutions and manufacturing solutions, but to retake that role.

 

So therefore, as part of the APA, I'm pleased to speak on behalf of fermentation. It's one of the pillars in the landscape alternative proteins sitting alongside plant and alongside cultivated. And so I pass very welcoming to Benjamina to explain more clearly the role of cultivated meat.

 

Benjamina Bollag

 

At Higher Steaks we are focused on cultivating meat and we're embracing as well hybrids working with plant based as well and other alternative proteins.

 

We're currently building not quite the same facility but a small pilot, and as Higher Steaks CEO, but also as someone who grew up in Switzerland and chose to move here in the UK for my education system because of the amazing universities that were here, and chose to start a company here because of the incredible ecosystem of startups and biotech.

 

I hope to be standing in a couple of years here and tell you that I chose to build that large scale facility in the UK because of the work that we've enabled through APA. The APA recently conducted a survey of the British public that really reflects one of the challenges that we have as a sector. It shows that people are three times more likely to consume alternative proteins and to choose them over other proteins when they're significantly cheaper.

 

Now, yes, as an industry, we have our work to do around that, particularly in cultivated meat. But it's also important that we get the same opportunity as conventional proteins. It's important that we're considered for subsidies. And the British public really agrees with this. 76% of the public backs subsidizing alternative proteins to make them more affordable, like we do with animal proteins.

 

94% of people say that the government should be proactive in supporting the British alternative proteins industry. We also in this room need to get better at telling our story. We need to get better at telling why this is important. Why are we doing what we're doing? Why is it good for everyone not just us, and why we need and deserve that support.

 

Today, and I'm going to repeat it after Jeremy, as we launch the APA, we're really calling for the government to consider all of the alternative proteins as part of the National Food Strategy. But we're also calling on all of us to collaborate more to work within the sector, but also externally from the sector, not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the nation and the world.

 

Thank you.

 

Lord Sarfraz

 

Now, folks, the minute you've been waiting for. By the powers vested in me by the Alternative Proteins Association in the presence of the Secretary of State, I declare the association open. If you need a drink, you know where to find it. Enjoy your evening. If you need cash, you know where to find it.  Jeremy is right here.

 

Have a great evening. Thank you all for coming.