Emerging technologies are helping develop innovative strategies improving food production, design, building new food structures, digitalize food systems, reduce wastage, and make the entire process sustainable. Innovations in foodtech are actively working to give consumers choices that present food in a new light, show them that their food can come in novel, safer and more sustainable. The traditional sources of protein, meat, dairy products, for instance, are becoming increasingly unsustainable. They are responsible for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, and we will need to produce more food in the next few years than we have in the past few thousand to feed our burgeoning population. Alternative proteins are essential to meeting this challenge. Plant-based proteins offer many advantages over meat and dairy products, including sustainability, health benefits, and affordability. The future of food relies on the effective production and consumption of alternative proteins beyond conventional sources. These innovative and sustainability-focused trends are here to stay as more and more consumers become conscious about where their food comes from.
Plant-based product categories are diversifying rapidly to reach higher fidelity to animal products:
The global plant-based meat market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 16.0% from 2020 to 2027 top companies and an increasing number of private labels are all investing in extensive R&D to improve the taste, texture, and nutrition of their products. This clearly indicated that alternative proteins are here to stay and will only continue to grow in popularity. Plant-based meats are becoming more realistic alternatives to traditional animal meats, with better taste and texture, and significantly reduced impact on the environment. Consumer acceptance is increasing rapidly along with demand
Cultivated meat is expected to receive further regulatory approvals and subsequently be introduced in restaurants:
Cultivated meat is made by growing muscle cells from an animal in a controlled environment. This process eliminates the need to raise and slaughter animals for their meat, making it a dramatically more humane and environmentally friendly option. While cultivated meat is not yet commercially available, it is expected to receive further regulatory approvals in the coming years and become more widely available. As cultivated meat becomes more realistic and affordable, it is likely to gain popularity among consumers who are looking for sustainable protein options.
Companies are embedding sustainable practices within their supply chains as consumers and investors prioritize sustainability:
On issues such as land usage, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and pollution, the advantages of replacing animal-based foods with plant-derived alternatives are well established. As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their food choices, they are increasingly demanding that companies embed sustainable practices within their supply chains as well. This is leading to a shift in how food is produced, with an emphasis on sustainability. There is further scope to lower environmental impact (and costs) even further within the alternative protein value chain by exploring methods like upcycling ingredients, repurposing sidestream materials, shifting to sustainable packaging, adopting renewable energy, and fuel-efficient transportation.
Fermentation-as-a-service (FaaS) will provide better dairy alternatives:
FaaS is a new model of fermentation that enables the production of dairy alternatives without the need for cows or other animals. This technology is already being used to produce plant-based milk, cheese, and yoghurt. FaaS offers many advantages over traditional dairy production, including sustainability, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and no animal cruelty. As FaaS becomes more widely available, it is likely to gain popularity among conscious consumers who are looking for sustainable protein options.
Amplified investments and increasing involvement from governments across the globe:
The alternative protein market is gaining significant traction owing to the rise in awareness about the health hazards associated with animal-based protein consumption and the growing need for sustainable food production are key. Plant-based and cultivated red meats are long-term, sustainable solutions that are pro-climate, market-based, and well-situated to help fulfil the global climate goals. A variety of benefits, beyond sustainability, are associated with alternative proteins, including lowering the danger of antibiotic resistance and pandemics, as well as improving food safety and security – governments and investors are both well-aware of this.
This is an exciting time for alternative proteins, as there is a growing recognition of the need for sustainable and environmentally friendly protein sources. The Nutritional Aspect of Alternate Proteins still need more focus as even big brand have not managed to fix. Long ingredients, non-store ingredients and high use of coconut oil in saturates, makes it a functional challenge vs nutrition. But with continued innovation and investment, alternative proteins are poised to make a significant impact on the future of food. With plant-based products becoming more realistic alternatives to traditional animal meats, and cultivated meat on the horizon, there are many options for sustainable and delicious protein sources that can help reduce our impact on the environment.
– Richard Pattinson, General Manager, GRIFFCO Foods