Infrastructure investment vital for plant-based and cultivated meat industries, according to new research

  • Study finds additional investment needed for large infrastructure projects to support sector’s rapid growth
  • Training and reskilling people vital for sector to meet potential
  • NGO calls on governments to help farmers scale up supply of locally grown crops

A study into Europe’s rapidly-growing plant-based and cultivated meat industries has found additional investment is required to provide the infrastructure needed to help the sector expand.

Food sustainability NGO the Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe) asked investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, suppliers and manufacturers from 10 countries about the challenges they face as the sector matures.

They found that although venture capital has helped expand the sector, it is not suited to the large infrastructure projects, such as processing or manufacturing plants, now needed to help it grow.

As many startups begin to scale up production, additional investment will be needed to fund these projects. The industry also needs more debt financing to fund the next stage of growth, with the creation of infrastructure loans and leasing funds to unlock economies of scale.

Other key findings include:

  • More work needs to be done to scale up the supply of crops to provide raw materials for the sector. GFI Europe is calling on governments to provide insurance, price guarantees and technical assistance to encourage farmers to grow new types of crop.
  • Training and reskilling people will be critical to scale up the industry, supporting the creation of new businesses, and helping to generate better products and technical innovations. These industries require workers with specialist knowledge, but very few universities offer dedicated programmes, which will be necessary to develop the skills the sectors need.

GFI Europe will use the findings of the report to provide entrepreneurs, food manufacturers, investors and researchers with a better understanding of how they can realise the potential of the European market for plant-based and cultivated meat – one of the biggest in the world.

Nielsen data shows that retail sales of plant-based foods in Europe reached €3.6 billion in 2020 – 28% higher than 2019, and 49% higher than 2018. Germany leads the market, with sales totalling €993 million in 2020, with the UK in second place at €750 million.

Carlotte Lucas, corporate engagement manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “We’re very excited about the growth in plant-based and cultivated meat, but urgent work now needs to be done to ensure this sector can scale up and realise its true potential. In particular, we’re going to need to attract a more diverse group of investors to build up the infrastructure that companies now need in order to expand.

“We also have to scale up supply chains and train and reskill a lot of people to create the talent pool these businesses will need over the next few years.”

Find a link to the report here.


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