The Fostering European Cellular Agriculture for Sustainable Transition Solution (FEASTS), a newly established research program funded by the EU, has launched this January to work on a three-year project on cultivated meat and seafood.
The program aims to gather comprehensive, “unbiased” information and technological knowledge about cell-based meat to establish a framework for sustainable production and promote the technology as a future protein production method.
“We want our findings to ultimately serve as a decision support tool for informed policy”
FEASTS is a consortium of 36 independent institutions from 17 countries, including universities and research institutes, startups, business accelerators, independent consultants, international food innovation initiatives, representatives of farmers and aquafarmers, and a consumer association.
Marja-Liisa Meurice, Director of EIT Food North and East region and consortium partner at FEASTS, comments: “We are looking to identify the most sustainable, economically viable technologies, and to establish their place in the European Union’s food system. We want our findings to ultimately serve as a decision support tool for informed policy and decision-making in the EU.”
Sustainability by design
FEASTS explains that it will focus on sustainability by design, an interdisciplinary and knowledge-sharing approach.
To understand the multi-dimensional impact of cellular agriculture on the environment and the food value chain, the program’s stakeholders will use dynamic system models to integrate all the information from ethical questions to life cycle analyses of cultivating meat.
As part of the project, FEASTS will explore all perspectives from farm to table to determine how this new technology can contribute to the future of farming to find solutions for food security and just transitions for farmers and aquafarmers.
In addition, the program will also focus on consumers to address knowledge gaps such as nutrition and food safety. The plans announced by the new think tank include launching workshops and focus groups to raise awareness and knowledge to accelerate the acceptance of these new products. A forum to discuss the role of cellular agriculture in meeting the growing demand for proteins will be part of the organization’s ambitious goals.
In conclusion, FEASTS aims to develop a stewardship model that promotes the future competitiveness of the cultivated meat and seafood sector in the European Union.
Prof. Frederico Ferreira, FEASTS Project Manager & Coordinator from Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, shares: “Our aim with FEASTS, which has been designed as a think-tank, is to expand the knowledge related to cultivated meat and seafood so we can future-proof protein supply.
“We are focused on responsible innovation and principles of open science to ensure data-sharing, reproducibility and, ultimately, access to the project’s findings by key stakeholders,” he adds.