SP.20.005 – Catalyzing the Protein Transition

Route: Sustainable production of safe and healthy food

Cluster question: 015 How can we make agricultural production systems more sustainable as the worldwide demand for healthy, safe food continues to grow?

Questions of how we choose what (not) to eat are becoming increasingly pertinent, as recognition of the impact of our food production and consumption on the environment and human health is increasing. While a large part of the Dutch population continues to rely on animal rich diets for their protein intake, there is a clear signal that this needs to change drastically to a more plant-based diet. Indeed, according to the Green Protein Alliance and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) by 2050 the average protein intake in the Netherlands should be 60% plant-based and 40% animal-based protein. Today the reverse is the case. The ambition and challenge for such a dietary shift appears daunting. However, alternatives that challenge conventional diets are a growing phenomenon: meat substitutes, such as soy-based ‘meat’, fermented fungus, plant-based ‘milk’, and the complete rejection of animal-based proteins (veganism). Hence, a protein transition is already under way but it remains uncoordinated and scattered.
This project will provide knowledge and understanding that can catalyse, i.e. scale-up and entrench, the plant-based protein transition in the Netherlands. The project will: (a) develop a framework for research, business, investment and policy decision-making for assessing and catalysing protein transitions in meat and dairy supply chains; (b) provide a detailed analysis of the socio-economic, health and safety, and environmental impacts of these transitions and their associated governance challenges; and (c) engage in co-design of pathways that can catalyse protein transitions in meat and dairy in the Netherlands in fair, sustainable and economically beneficial ways. The project will make an innovative scientific and societal contribution by developing the evidence base to demonstrate the ways in which a plant-based protein transition can be implemented across the supply chain and understand the governance dynamics that can make this happen.


co-design, Governance, plant-based proteins, supply chain, Transformation


Organisation Utrecht University (UU)
Name Dr. A. (Agni) Kalfagianni
E-mail a.kalfagianni@uu.nl
Website https://www.uu.nl/staff/AKalfagianni