Alternative Proteins And Future Market Share
The world population continues to grow, the climate continues to change, and factory farming continues to become ever more unsustainable. This is leading consumers and the food industry to look toward alternatives to the status quo. Whether you look at it from an investment perspective, or from the perspective of how to get consumers to shift their consumption habits, the world of alternative proteins is growing.
On the industry side, companies like Lux Research—who bills itself as “a leading provider of market intelligence services, helping clients drive growth through technology innovation”—are keeping a keen eye on this protein shift. They note that the growth of alternative protein sources has the potential to profoundly affect agriculture, food technology, and end products. They note that the protein industry was once static. But now “novel” protein sources are finding new niches. Taken collectively, such novel protein sources may soon provide a major portion of protein consumption worldwide.
In this summary of Lux Research’s recent report “WhooPea: Plant Sources Are Changing the Protein Landscape,” Lux Research notes that alternative proteins seem to be “picking up the slack of slowing meat and seafood growth.” Alternative proteins could account for up to 33% of total protein consumption by the year 2054. There are a variety of factors driving this. But many of them are dominated by concerns over the environment.
Lux Research touts various alternatives in their report. They note that soy—which they call the “first generation alternative protein”—will continue to be the dominant alternative. They predict soy to account for about 80% of the alternative protein market by 2024. So-called “second generation” proteins such as pea, rice, canola, and others, will form a small slice of the market. But these will grow quickly. Also, they note that, if we look forward 10 years from now, there may be “third generation” proteins. These are similarly poised to make a big impact. They include insects, algae, and synthetic biology. They could make up as much as 50% of the alternative protein market by 2054. The shift to alternatives won’t be “free” though. Nearly 100 million additional hectares of protein crops will be needed to meet the demand by 2024.
Much of this is great news for animal advocates. But we do need to keep any environmental costs and tolls in mind as we tout the alternatives. Environmental concerns are of great importance for this industry. The increases in cropland will need to be measured against the decreases in animal production. This will enable us to see to what extent they balance each other out. And then advocacy messages can be framed accordingly.