Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Farmers and better infrastructure needed for growing alternative proteins industry

The alternative proteins sector has grown tenfold in Australia and New Zealand over the past few years, according to Food Frontier.

“As with any emerging industry, many gaps and bottlenecks exist across alternative protein supply chains, from skills and infrastructure capacity to optimised crops and local ingredient supply, not least because of the speed of growth,” says the alternative proteins ‘think tank’.

Food Frontier Executive Director Dr Simon Eassom says the shift to diversify protein supply across the globe will continue to accelerate, providing opportunities for grain farmers and helping to alleviate supply chain issues.

“Deloitte Access Economics predicts that plant-based meat—which relies on base ingredients such as grains and legumes–will generate almost $3 billion in domestic consumer sales by 2030,” he says.

“The industry has grown from a base of just four domestic plant-based meat manufacturers five years ago to more than 20 in 2023 and over 350 plant-based meat products in the market. In terms of volumes, the industry is forecast to produce 169,000 tonnes of end product by 2030.

“Increasing demand internationally for high-quality protein ingredients, including for plant-based meats and a range of other foods and products, are also market opportunities for farmers.”

Agriculture Victoria Policy and Programs Executive Director Sarah-Jane McCormack highlights the possibilities of new and emerging agricultural industries.

“Agriculture Victoria recognises the growth potential of alternative proteins and other emerging sectors and believe these industries offer significant opportunities to create jobs, broaden income streams and target new markets and consumers,” she says.

“As the world demand for protein increases and consumers explore new protein sources, there are exciting opportunities for grain farmers to tap into this emerging market supported by Agriculture Victoria’s cutting-edge research.”

Hand in hand with increasing local supply of grains and legumes, says Food Frontier, is the need for businesses to invest in more plant protein processing infrastructure.

“There’s currently only one commercial scale pulse fractionation plant available in the country, and that’s in Victoria,” says the organisation. “This facility is already bringing investment and jobs to the Horsham region, and providing greater economic value to the local farmers who supply it with their product.”

AltProteins 23

Tackling supply chain issues such as this is just one of the sessions at Food Frontier’s AltProteins 23 conference in October.

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with Food Frontier in recognition of the role farmers and greater infrastructure play in the development of the sector.

Agriculture Victoria Research Director for Plant Production Sciences Dr Garry Rosewarne will be participating in this session, speaking about the crop research and innovation work at the Grains Innovation Park, which is supporting the growth of Victoria’s plant-based sector.

Market leaders from Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore and the US are also among the list of speakers announced for AltProteins 23 on 4 October at Sofitel on Collins in Melbourne.

To view the program and register, visit altproteinsconference.com.au.

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