When you hear the name of website “Global Meat News,” you probably don’t expect to read an article on the potential of lab-grown and plant-based meat. Well, the time’s are certainly changing because a recent article on the meat-dominated website discusses how international financial group, Rabobank SUPPORTS meat alternatives.
Rabobank believes that meat processors should “latch on to international growth for alternative proteins buying into lab-grown and plant-based meat.” Rabobank points to Tyson Foods’ investment in plant-based meat company Beyond Meat, who offer the first veggie burger to be sold next to meat in the frozen section of the grocery store (and just recently, Tyson CEO Tom Hayes said he was excited about plant-based protein on a radio show!). Rabobank believes that Tyson’s investment signaled the shift from lab-grown and plant-based meat from niche to mainstream.
“The strong and persistent drivers supporting the current growth of alternative proteins will continue over the next five years, at least. This means alternative proteins have the potential to capture a material share of animal protein demand growth in the EU, and also capture more market share in the U.S. and Canada,” Justin Sherrard, global strategist of animal protein at Rabobank wrote on Global Meat News.
And it seems like other meat companies, not just Tyson, agree with Sherrard and are jumping in on the growing plant-based sector. Canadian meat processor, Maple Leaf Foods, recently acquired Lightlife Foods, a producer of plant-based products such as tempeh, vegan sausages, and burgers. And food giant Nestlé recently bought Sweet Earth Foods, a Californian-based company known for vegan meals and snacks made from plant-based proteins. Major beef supplier Cargill recently sold off the last of their cattle feedlots and is focusing on transitioning their meat department to more broadly focus on “proteins,” denoting the inclusion of plant-based proteins – they also made an investment in Memphis Meats, a company working on lab-cultured meat.
This is promising considering we are reaching a time where the question of how we are going to feed a growing population that is set to reach nine billion by 2050 cannot be ignored. Demand for protein in the developed and developing world is at an all-time high, with the average person in the U.S. consuming 103 grams per day, around double the actual recommended amount. The animal agriculture system already covers over 45 percent of the world’s land mass, uses a majority of finite freshwater water resources, and is responsible for rampant air and water pollution – not to mention is the largest singular source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Even with all the resources that this industry uses, nearly one billion people still go hungry.
Thanks to growing awareness that meat is not the healthiest or the most sustainable source of protein, demand for alternative protein sources are at an all-time high. According to some estimates, the plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.2 billion by 2020 and could make up one-third of the market by 2050.
According to Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder of One Green Planet, “innovations in the plant-protein space have the power to transform food as we know it and write the story of the future of food.” Simply put, if we hope to feed the growing demand for protein, we need to move into the future with more plant-based options.
To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.
Image Source: Beyond Meat/Facebook