Organised by Flemish government, from 11 to 13 March 2024 in Leuven, discussion coordinated by The ProteInn Club (The ProteInn club).

Objective of the debate

The Open Food Conference aims to create synergies between policy, science, industry and practice in order to offer systemic responses as an inspiration for European and national policies. Microbial is a highly promising alternative protein that has potential to play a substantial role in the transition towards a more sustainable food system. How can European policy maximally support this innovation and stimulate the development of value chains and industrial implementation in Europe?


Today, a number of pioneer companies are already implementing microbial fermentation for the production of proteins for food, feed and fine chemicals on a lab, demo or industrial scale. Microbial proteins have a lot of potential not only for the further development of the bio-economy with a broad variety of interesting fermentation products but also to contribute to the implementation of the Green Deal and to support the transition towards a more sustainable agricultural production by producing proteins and all kind of fermentation products in a more sustainable way with a lower environmental impact that also contributes to the mitigation of the climate change.

However, the widely extended and multifaceted potential of this technique encounters many regulatory and investment hurdles.  Obstacles are faced when building value chains based on this technological innovation for microbial proteins, related to the use of sustainable bioresources, the necessary investments to build production facilities, and the regulatory hurdles to put products on the market. 

In order to develop this sector, several requirements were stated: a stimulating environment and regulatory framework, funding, and faster acceptance procedures with the aim to contribute to a more sustainable agriculture, the development of a green bio-economy and climate mitigation.