ENSA statement – Growing demand for plant-protein foods: good for health, good for the environment, good for farmers!

ENSA, the European Plant-Based Foods Association, welcomes the European Commission’s report on the development of plant proteins in the European Union. We welcome in particular the Commission’s commitment to promote the benefits of plant protein for nutrition, health, climate and environment and to widely communicate the benefits of plant proteins.

Speaking at the Plant Protein Conference in Vienna, Agriculture Commissioner Hogan said: “(Plant-proteins) are also increasingly popular in human food consumption, reflecting changing consumer preferences and tastes (…) this is a trend we can encourage further”.

The Commission’s report acknowledges the growing consumer demand for plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy. Although food represents only represent 7% of the EU plant protein market (with 93% for feed), the report stresses that cultivating plant-proteins for food bring highest profit margins for farmers. As demand for plant-protein increases, it is essential that the Common Agricultural Policy provides an incentivising framework for farmers to respond to this demand and benefit from the arising opportunities.

The members of ENSA already source 2/3 of their whole soybeans directly from EU farmers, a proportion which has been continuously increasing over the past 10 years. To achieve this, a number of ENSA members have actively contributed to the establishment of soy supply chains in Europe, working with farmers to obtain high quality, nutritious and GMO-free soybeans for food use. ENSA members are also innovating, to offer tasty and nutritious plant-based alternatives based on other types of protein, such as peas or oat.

ENSA looks forward to continuing working with the European Commission to deliver and follow-up on the actions identified in the report for the promotion of plant-based protein in Europe.

Vienna – 23 November 2018