The government of Catalonia has invested €7m into alternative protein research, aiming to scale up Catalonia’s plant-based and fermentation-made food production. The “Centre d’Innovació en Proteïna Alternativa” (Centre for Innovation in Alternative Proteins, CiPA) will receive the funding and focus on research and innovation related to ingredients, food, and feed alternatives to animal proteins. CiPA aims to become a leading hub in southern Europe for alternative protein research. CiPA will also explore fermentation-made food to reduce food waste and transform agricultural surplus into food.

The funding will come from the Department of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology (IRTA) and will be distributed throughout Catalonia — although most of its equipment will be located at the IRTA Monells Center in Girona, Northern Catalonia.

Alex Holst, senior policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said to Food Navigator, “This landmark announcement is a major step towards turning Catalonia into one of Spain’s leading hubs for sustainable plant-based and fermentation-made foods. The region is already home to pioneering alternative protein companies, but this investment will help develop a vibrant Catalan sector capable of producing delicious, affordable foods for the growing alternative protein market, generating highly skilled jobs and export opportunities.” 

According to the Good Food Institute, replacing animal agriculture with plant-based meat has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 98%, land use by 93%, and water use by 99%. Therefore, it is imperative that plant-based agriculture replaces animal agriculture as soon as possible, and research on protein alternatives may accelerate this transition. 

Plant-based food market in the Spanish state grew 9% between 2020 and 2022, eventually reaching €447.4 million. The investment in alternative protein research by the government of Catalonia aims to improve this market further.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.