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Flower power: Demand for plant-based protein surges as diets change

August 24, 2021

Flower power: Demand for plant-based protein surges as diets change

The once-niche world of meat-free burgers and dairy-free milk has recently become one of the fastest-growing segments of the global food industry and could soon be generating billions for the Australian economy.

The once-niche world of meat-free burgers and dairy-free milk has recently become one of the fastest-growing segments of the global food industry and could soon be generating billions for the Australian economy.

A recent Deloitte Access Economics report estimated Australia’s plant-based meat market will be worth $3 billion by 2030, while separate data suggests the country’s broader plant-based protein segment will be worth twice that, at $6 billion.

That’s up from only $185 million in 2020.

These big gains are underpinned by consumers’ changing dietary preferences. Research house Roy Morgan last year estimated that roughly 12% of Australians are now either completely or mostly vegetarian.

Other data shows one third of consumers are now actively limiting the volume of meat in their diets.

Further evidence of this transition can be seen in Australia’s major supermarket sales data, which show sales of plant-based protein products grew 50% in 2020.

Local industry catches attention of global investors

The growth in demand for plant-based proteins has attracted the attention of global agribusiness giant Bunge, who earlier this year invested more than A$45 million in local manufacturer Australian Plant Proteins (APP).

Phil McFarlane, co-founder and director of APP, said the company focuses primarily on sports nutrition, alternative dairy products, and alternative meat.

The company has spent $25 million on its Horsham-based processing plant and is looking to use the funds from the Bunge deal to expand its capacity to meet growing demand.

Some of its products have become a hit with health and wellness professionals, who use APP proteins in their own range of health and wellness products.

The market for sports nutritional supplements, including plant-based goods, is also booming.

A global opportunity for Australia

Nick Hazell, CEO of animal-free meat producer V2Foods, added that Australia has the potential to position itself as a leader in the alternative meat industry.

Speaking to The New Daily, Mr Hazell said global demand for meat is growing at a rate which can’t be met by animal-based supplies, and artificial equivalents produced from plants will need to be used instead.

Australia’s agricultural sector already has the capacity it needs to produce these alternatives, and the country’s reputation as an exporter of food would place us in good stead with importers, he said.

 

Sources:


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