The food space has changed drastically in the past 10 years. With the rise of the internet and social media, it has never been easier to share information about the food we purchase in grocery stores. Thanks to video footage and research reports, we now have direct insight into how a majority of our food is made – unfortunately, to many consumers, this knowledge has caused them to distrust the food system.
In fact, a recent study from the Center for Food Integrity found that only 33 percent of consumers are confident in the safety of our food system. Further, the meat and dairy industry are becoming increasingly “untrustworthy” in the eyes of consumers, and the same report noted only 25 percent of participants believe humane treatment is provided for animals used in the U.S. meat industry, and only 30 percent think that American farmers take good care of the environment (for context, 42 percent believed this was true in 2017).
Thankfully, consumers today are not content with simply carrying on “business as usual” with their purchasing, they are seeking out better alternatives, and increasingly, they are buying plant-based foods. From plant-based meat alternatives to dairy-free milks, yogurts, and cheese, the plant-based food space is exploding to meet the demands of these new – hungry – conscious consumers.
In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Lisa Feria, CEO of Stray Dog Capital, a mission-driven Venture Capital firm that drives alternatives to the use of animals in the supply chain through investments, expertise, and support, speaks to the confluence of trends that are happening to make the plant-based food space one of the most prime for investment opportunities.
As Lisa explains, it’s more than just the consumers who are shaping this rising sector of the food industry, some of the major players in the meat and dairy space are getting in too. Tyson and Cargill are seeing that the only way to keep producing enough meat and dairy to feed a rising population, they will need more resources, namely, more land and water that just is not available. Even at the highest rate of “efficiency,” their business to produce protein using animals is messy, strife with animal welfare and human rights concerns, unhealthy, and unsustainable in every sense of the word. Knowing this, they are looking to plant-based and even “clean” meat companies and seeing how they can invest or acquire more of these businesses to help them move away from being reliant on animal agriculture.
As an investor, Lisa gets to see behind the scenes innovation and is instrumental in making sure companies that have the potential to disrupt industrialized animal agriculture and our broken food system have all they need to be successful. In this enlightening conversation, she shares more about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and gives her take on trends and opportunities in the plant-based food space, as well as her predictions for the future of food.
In the next 30 years, the food system we know will be completely different thanks to people like Lisa, and without a doubt, thanks to consumer demand, meat companies will certainly not be making protein in slaughterhouses.
You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher.
If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.
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