There is a lot of noise out there about alternative proteins. But what is all the fuss about? What are alternative proteins, and are they going to be a major disrupter to traditional agriculture, or are they an untapped opportunity for the industry?
We know that investments in, and production of, alternative proteins such as insect proteins; meat, dairy, egg and fish analogues; and cultured meat are on the rise, albeit with a very small market share thus far. But will these alternative protein markets continue to grow? If so, at what rate, and is there room for both animal-based and alternative proteins in the Australian market?
Today’s episode tackles these questions and more in a panel discussion, recorded live at Australia’s first national, virtual AgTech Meetup. This meetup brought together Australia’s very vibrant and passionate agtech meetup community, to hear more about the changing landscape of protein production, including the challenges and opportunities for Australian agriculture.
The three panelists on today's episode have really different backgrounds and perspectives in this space, and the discussion gets quite heated at times. What better way to distract us all from our COVID-19 isolation? There are certainly plenty of contentious points raised and some very strong differing opinions, given how much is still uncertain when it comes to alternative proteins. Let’s face it, the whole concept of alternative proteins has only been on most of our radars for only a few years, so it’s no wonder there are big differences in opinions!
One view raised (and debated) is that disruption of food and agriculture as we know it today is inevitable. A report recently published by RehinkX found that eventually the whole food system will change, and that by 2035, demand for cow products will have shrunk by 80% to 90%. Other livestock markets such as chicken, pig, and fish will follow a similar trajectory. This would obviously have huge implications for agriculture as we know it. You may think that this is quite an extreme perspective, but there are those who strongly believe this will happen. And whether it does or not, it’s important to be across these rapidly evolving spaces.
The other perspective discussed is that there is room for both traditional protein and alternative proteins in the Australian production market. The argument for this is that there is growing global demand for protein from a rising population, and therefore, new demand for traditional protein will outweigh any additional market share that alternative proteins may gain in the near future. For more on this refer to the AgriFutures report.
No matter what your view is, there is certainly lots to think about when it comes to alternative proteins, including lot’s opportunities for startups and farmers to think about, so sit back and enjoy the passionate ‘discussions’ on this week's episode!
Additional QnA from the panelists (i.e., more of Catherine and Paul arguing :) )
Australian AgriTech Association (“Aus Agritech”)
Aus Agritech slack group
The Changing Landscape of Protein Production: Opportunities and challenges for Australian agriculture [Australian Farm Institute and AgriFutures Australia report]
Meat the Alternative: Australia's $3B Opportunity [Food Frontier report]
Rethinking Food and Agriculture [RethinkX report]
Growth opportunities for Australian food and agribusiness: Economic analysis and market sizing [CSIRO report]
Tenacious Ventures Management Pty Ltd (CAR 001275760), Tenacious Ventures Management Partnership, LP (CAR 001298484), Tenacious Ventures Fund II Management Partnership, LP (CAR 001298483), and Tenacious Ventures Fund II Staple Co Pty Ltd (CAR 001298487) are Corporate Authorised Representatives of Sandford Capital Pty Ltd (ABN 82 600 590 887), Australian Financial Services Licence No 461981, and are authorised to provide advisory and dealing in connection with investments to wholesale clients only.