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Flemish Protein Strategy 2021-2030

  • Published on January 26, 2022

Proteins are a crucial part of human (and animal) nutrition. But the current model of protein production and consumption is under pressure. Scientists indicate that the protein supply must become more sustainable in order to meet challenges in the areas of food security, environmental impact and public health. 

With a broad group of partners from the agri-food chain, knowledge institutes, the Flemish administration and other stakeholders, we want to realise a more sustainable, diverse and forward-looking protein supply by 2030. In addition, this strategy should help increase (EU) protein self-sufficiency.

The strategy covers the entire chain from production through to consumption. This initiative fits into an agricultural, health, climate, environmental, raw materials and broader food policy and should offer clear gains in the fields of economy, entrepreneurship and innovation, the environment and climate, and health. The strategy is part of the Government of Flanders’ recovery response to the COVID-19 crisis, and boosts both economic recovery and the development of new economic opportunities for all links in the agri-food chain.

We put forward 6 strategic themes and objectives in this strategy.

  1. Sustainable animal feed: making protein sources for animal feed more sustainable
  2. Sustainable animal production: making animal production more sustainable
  3. More plant proteins: increasing protein production
  4. More novel proteins: developing innovative protein sources
  5. Greater product diversity: diversity in processing for diversity in supply
  6. Sustainable protein consumption: balanced, healthy, diverse, environmentally responsible and local

A comprehensive approach is paramount. All types of proteins and protein products (animal and vegetable, innovative and conventional) are given due consideration within this strategy, given the importance of protein diversification to achieve the objectives. Moreover, the strategy also encompasses the entire post-production chain, which is necessary to develop profitable chains and to subsequently arrive at earnings models for each link in the chain.

The levers for achieving this are policy, research and innovation, awareness-raising and mobilisation. Each of the partners will use one or several of these levers to reach the broad target audience throughout the agri-food chain. The time horizon is set at 2030. The present strategy sets out the main lines for the coming years and will be evaluated in 2025 and adjusted if necessary.

To conclude, some actions that fit in the 6 strategic themes:

  1. By 2030, all soya used by Belgian animal feed manufacturers shall meet the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines and FEFAC Deforestation Free criteria. 50 % of the raw materials used in the Belgian animal feed industry shall originate from side streams of the food and fuel industries. 
  2. The impact of livestock farming on climate, the environment, biodiversity and water should be reduced. New sustainable earnings models and/or sales markets for local animal proteins or protein products shoud be stimulated, e.g. organic, extensive agriculture, energy production, landscape maintenance, short-chain sale, sustainability labels.
  3. To increase the local cultivation of protein crops (e.g. soya and quinoa) profitable chains need to be developed in order to achieve an earnings model for each link in the chain. 
  4. Flanders is to become a hotspot in the expertise, production and processing of novel protein sources (e.g. insects and algae) on the one hand and in novel applications of existing protein sources (e.g. through fermentation) on the other.
  5. Shops should be able to provide a wide range of tasty, safe and nutritionally high-quality protein-rich products, offering consumers sufficient choice between animal and non-animal sources.
  6. We strive for a varied and balanced diet, which takes into account the health recommendations and has an acceptable ecological footprint. Animal proteins have a place within that diet, but a shift towards more plant and alternative proteins is necessary.

More information in Dutch on the website of the Flemish Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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