Plant-based food and alternative proteins are making their way in Europe and Lithuania


When the world is increasingly talking about the lack of food products caused by the war in Ukraine and other factors, parallel attempts are being made to look for changes in the food system, opportunities to make it more sustainable and ethical. Over the past few months, several important events related to the alternative protein industry have taken place in Europe and Lithuania. In this article, we will look at a few of them. 

Europe has opened the door for the Just Egg company to enter the market

Just Egg, one of the world's most famous producers of plant-based egg-replacing products, has received approval from the European Commission to enter the European Union market. The biggest obstacle to doing so previously was the main ingredient in Just Egg eggs, mung bean protein, which had not previously been approved for food use in Europe.

According to Just Egg, their first products should be available in Europe at the end of this year. Head of the company Josh Tetrick states, that bringing Just Egg to Europe and making it available to millions of consumers who have chosen a healthier and more sustainable diet will be one of the most important achievements of the company. 

The emergence of these products can really be a big help to people reducing their consumption of animal products, as Europe has so far lacked widely developed and easy-to-use alternatives to eggs.

Alternative protein industry leaders in Europe

In the 2020s, Singapore became the first and so far the only country where the Singapore Food Agency has approved the sale of cultured meat - single-bite products with cultured chicken produced by the company Eat Just. This was a huge breakthrough globally, and Europe, where the debate on cultured meat has not been silent for a long time, also has the potential to follow in Singapore's footsteps.

The Netherlands has advanced the most out of all European countries. It is not surprising, because one of the authors of the idea of meat production without animals is Willem Frederik van Eelen, a researcher and entrepreneur from the Netherlands. Not only are there a lot of scientists working on it and startups in the Netherlands right now, but it's also where the big news in April came from, the biggest ever government investment in the alternative protein industry. of the National Cultivation Fund (eng. National Growth Fund) an investment of 60 million euros has been allocated will be dedicated to creating a national cellular agriculture (eng. cellular agriculture) ecosystem. This is undoubtedly a great incentive for all the leaders of other European countries.

In addition to the Netherlands, other countries such as Great Britain, Spain, Germany and France pay a lot of attention to this industry in Europe. In the world, Singapore, the United States of America and Israel remain among the leading countries.

News in Lithuania

In Lithuania, the topic of alternative proteins is still taking its first steps. It is true that the supply of plant-based alternatives to meat or dairy products is growing rapidly. Large retail chains have recently been paying a lot of attention to the topic of plant-based food. 

"Lidl Lietuva" announced at the beginning of June that it had started cooperation with the organization "Gyvi gali" and that throughout the summer it intends to focus on introducing its customers to the advantages of plant-based nutrition and the adaptability of its range to various plant-based recipes.

Meanwhile, the shopping chain Maxima recently announced that it is abandoning the isles for vegetarians and vegans and separating plant-based products with similar products of animal origin, marking plant-based products with a special marker. The experience of various countries and trade networks shows that this positioning of goods attracts more interest in herbal products.

The popularity is growing not only in the trade, but also in the public catering sector - the recently launched restaurant campaign "Čia gali", which unites and advises restaurants that want to include more plant-based food in their menus, is rapidly filling the number of its members.  

It is true that the other directions of alternative proteins - cultivation and fermentation - are still not given enough attention in Lithuania, and there are still many opportunities to get involved in this rapidly developing area of biotechnology.

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