Plant and other meat and protein alternatives set to shine

The food sector will see continuing growth in alternative, processed protein foods such as plant-based meats and other alternatives, according to a major report from AgriFutures Australia.

AgriFutures, the successor to the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), estimates that additional opportunities for the protein sector will total more than $19.9 billion by 2030, with $3.1 billion from new processed alternatives.

This suggests new plant-sourced meat, dairy and egg substitutes, cultured or cellular meat, insects and algae derived foods will add to, rather than take away from world markets available to Australian producers and manufacturers.

The newly released report, The Changing Landscape of Protein Production, is funded by AgriFutures Australia’s National Rural Issues Program and delivered by the Australian Farm Institute

Its predictions out to 2030 include an additional $8.9 billion opportunity for Australian animal proteins, $7 billion for traditional plant-sourced proteins, and $3.1 billion for alternatives.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey (pictured) said: “We now have the facts about the aggregate opportunities for Australian agriculture in response to an emerging market for alternative proteins up to 2030.

“This means we can replace speculation with reliable forecasts to underpin policy, regulatory changes and advocacy positions.”

Mr Harvey added that prioritising producing enough protein for the growing global population requires a united front.

“Segregation and competition between traditional and alternative protein producers are not as big a threat as expected.”

“Enabling traditional and alternative protein producers to work in collaboration – such as using the by-product of insect farming as feed for chickens, pigs or fish – will provide a mutual sustainability benefit.”

Australian Farm Institute Executive Director, Richard Heath said while there’s been a lot of hype around the potential of so-called ‘fake meat’ as a disruptor to the livestock industry, this research shows this is not a threat to existing production systems.

Heath said: “New demand for animal protein from a growing global population will outweigh any additional market share that alternative proteins may gain in the next decade.”

Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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