Starch Europe launches position on EU Protein Strategy at annual event

Brussels, Belgium - At their annual event held on 14 November 2023 at the European Parliament, European starch producers unveiled their position paper on the forthcoming EU Protein Strategy (read more here), a first proposal of which is expected from the European Commission early 2024.

The dinner-debate hosted by Asger Christensen MEP, centered around the role of plant-based proteins in a more sustainable EU food system. Proceedings were kicked off by insightful contributions from MEP Christensen, Pierre Bascou (Director E - Markets, DG AGRI, European Commission) and Starch Europe’s own president Franck Monmont (Cargill), followed by a lively discussion which also included perspectives from the industry’s customers through Bart Vandewaetere (VP Corporate Communications and ESG, Nestlé Europe) as well as Juliette Jacques (Deputy Managing Director, Starch Europe).

The discussions were led and moderated by Rose O’Donovan, Editor of Brussels-based news outlet AgraFacts.

Starch industry representatives outlined the thoughts, needs, and expectations of this forthcoming Strategy, as well as the role the European Starch industry could play, given the right conditions.

Key outtakes included a firm message to the European Commission, that a clear, comprehensive, ambitious and holistic vision is needed, if the EU is to take the hoped-for strides towards a more sustainable and resilient EU food system, including by increasing its own plant-protein production capacity.

For an EU Protein strategy to actually contribute constructively, it will be critical that all elements of the value-chain be accounted for,” said Juliette Jacques. “Previous iterations, notably in 2018, focused on the cultivation of the protein plants, and by doing so overlooked the processing dimension, the circular economy benefits and the co- and by-products of all the food & feed processing industries. Yet we represent a crucial stage in getting the plant-based proteins from the farm to those that put food on your plate.

Concrete asks from starch producers aim to promote positively the plant-based proteins across the various EU policy areas:

  1. A holistic approach which recognizes the important role the plant-protein strategy can play in the overall context of the EU bioeconomy approach and the interlinkages between all the policy areas impacting the bioeconomy;
  2. in the next CAP discussions that will start in 2024, duly take into account the soil health and the Farm-to-Fork approach;
  3. Across EU and national research & innovation funding, programmes and investments in partnerships;
  4. With the publication of the long-awaited publication of Commission’s proposal, revising Regulation 1144/2014 about the promotion and awareness-raising of plant-based food and drinks made in the EU;
  5. In Sustainable finance, with technical screening criteria of the taxonomies that recognize the plant-based the EU classification system for economic activities that are considered as environmentally sustainable for investment purposes.
  6. A prudent approach in trade with third countries: EU investments to build its plant- based protein and overall ingredient supply chain must not be undermined by importing plant-based ingredients with lower sustainability standards from third countries.

Read the full Starch Europe Position on Plant-Based Proteins here.

November 23, 2023