We are urgently calling on Government to put all alternative proteins at the heart of the UK's National Food Strategy white paper, which sets out a long-term strategy for government about the British food system and is  due to be published early summer.

National Food Strategy Petition

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Background

As the world looks on in horror as events continue to unfold in Ukraine, countries around the world, including Britain, are beginning to reassess their own domestic security.  We’ve seen it in energy policy, as the true scale of Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas has become clear.  But we’re seeing it in yet another staple of everyday life: the food we eat.

Britain’s intensive animal protein sector is perhaps surprisingly tied to Russian industry.  In rearing cattle and producing animal-based proteins like eggs and milk, British farmers currently rely on Russian and Belarussian exports for a high percentage of the fertilisers and animal feed additives, which are essential components of intensive animal agriculture.

And whilst a quarter of the food Brits eat comes from Europe, Europe’s reliance on Russia for energy is having knock-on effects on UK food prices. 

There is a solution to this food security issue, and a growing number of British consumers are starting to choose it. Indeed, instead of relying on intensively reared animals for food, which rely on these fertilisers and additives, more and more people are consuming protein-rich ingredients sourced from plants instead. A recent science journal study found the number of Brits eating plant-based alternative foods nearly doubled from 6.7% in 2008 to 13.1% in 2019. It’s better for our planet, our health, our animals and can provide long-term opportunity for British farmers

 

Alternative proteins are foodstuffs made from plants, fungi or tissue culture that provide a genuine different choice to conventional intensively farmed animal proteins. They rely on what British agriculture does best: crops.  Britain is the second largest pea producer in Europe, and so self-sufficient in wheat that we are a net exporter. 

Supporting the alternative protein sector is urgent if we want to secure for Britain a world-leading position in a long-term market that research by AT Kearney predicts could take up to 60% of the global meat market by 2040.

Instead of using vast amounts of land to produce food for animals, we can produce the same amount of food on 93% less land, using 95% less water and with far less Russian fertiliser - safeguarding British farming through more efficient use of arable land.  And it’s greener too: alternative proteins produce an average of 88 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than animal proteins, helping us on our way to Net Zero by 2050.  

And as well as giving us food security, this could reduce the cost of living through lower food prices and create tens of thousands of jobs.  Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy estimates that UK alternative protein manufacturing could create 10,000 new factory jobs and 6,500 farming jobs.  And the Department for International Trade has identified that “companies in the North East will be in a prime position to take advantage of the growing demand for plant-based and alternative protein products” as a result of their world-class universities, abundance of land, and manufacturing cluster. 

So we are calling on Government to put all alternative proteins at the heart of the UK's National Food Strategy white paper, which is due to be published early summer.

The National Food Strategy will be the UK's 'Food Bible' for decades; setting out an overarching strategy for government, designed to ensure that the food system delivers safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn.  That's why it is so important for alternative proteins to play a big role in that document, and why we're asking for your support in securing that.

Let’s support our homegrown industries, back British farmers, go green, lower food prices, get Global Britain leading this new and exciting industry, create thousands of jobs and most of all safeguard Britain’s food security.

Click below to sign the petition.  Please share with friends and family.  And write to your MP asking for their support on this crucial issue.