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.
The UK is a net importer of dairy and beef. But it is largely self-sufficient in production of grains, producing 100% of its own oats and barley, and 90% of wheat. We also produce over 50% of vegetables consumed domestically.
Alternative proteins can be entirely produced domestically from seed to shelf. The entire supply chain can be UK based, leaving the UK less exposed to changing winds in the global food system.
The GOV Food Security report notes that we can’t degrade natural assets like soil or we face long term crises. The alternative proteins sector is inherently regenerative, allowing previous crops to fertilise the soil for future ones, and meaning we would rely less on external inputs like fertiliser.
Alternative proteins rely on British crops and are therefore a natural strength of the British agricultural sector. Two of the primary ingredients already have a significant presence in the UK market. The UK is the second largest pea producer in Europe and the UK is self-sufficient and wheat and is a net exporter.
Supporting alternative proteins means backing more British produce and greater food security at home.