The international wholesale and food specialist METRO is a founding member of the “Verband für Alternative Proteinquellen” (Association for Alternative Protein Sources; BALPro), which has been officially operating since March 2019 and which is headquartered in Düsseldorf. Founded in mid-2018 by only a few engineers, scientists and food innovators, the association now brings together over 30 players from trade, industry, science and research under one roof. One of the aims of the association is to bring transparency and clarity into the often emotional but one-sided debate about animal protein sources and their alternatives such as insects or meat from the laboratory.
Start-ups in particular, which are among the driving forces behind the development of alternative proteins, have also kept their backs by the association which is focusing on political representation of interests, more easily accessible funding and communication with the public and science. The association was among others initiated by Fabio Ziemßen, Director Food Innovation at METRO AG and responsible for the group's own innovation hub NX-FOOD. Proteins are an elementary component of human nutrition, but their concentrated supply from animal sources puts increasing pressure on resources and the climate. The demand for proteins is rising steadily, while at the same time the world population continues to grow.
By 2050, Planet Earth will be home to 10 billion people. Resources simply have to be used efficiently. Meat and milk production release large amounts of CO2 and consume both water and agricultural land. In order to surpass the natural limits of the tried and tested protein sources, but still open up substantial protein sources for the nutrition of an increasingly growing world population, many food innovators from science and industry have for some time now been focusing on the development of alternative proteins. These include not only insect proteins, but also plant sources from algae or fungi, for example, as well as meat cultivated under laboratory conditions. What all the alternatives have in common is that they require a great deal of explanation. One of the central focuses of BALPro's association work is therefore to provide consumers and the public with transparent and open information.
METRO is a leading international wholesaler and food specialist, offering more than 50,000 products from the food and non-food sectors to more than 24 million customers worldwide every day. METRO's main customer groups include hoteliers, restaurateurs and caterers. The central task of the wholesaler is to reliably provide them with high-quality products. "We are aware of our great responsibility towards the planet. Increasingly regional, efficient and sustainable positioning of our supply chains is at the heart of our sustainability strategy. In view of the developments of the past years and the forecasts for the coming decades, discussing and promoting alternative protein sources is not only a matter of course for us, it is quite simply our obligation", explains Veronika Pountcheva, Global Director Corporate Responsibility METRO AG, the wholesaler's decision to support the founding of the Association for Alternative Protein Sources from the very beginning.