The Future Of Protein From An Investment Perspective
Most animal advocates are aware of the enormous scale of suffering when it comes to the animals we raise and slaughter for food. The industrial practices involved in animal farming and commercial fishing cause tremendous physical and emotional suffering for animals. As the world’s population grows, we are faced with a so-called “protein gap.” Producing enough protein will be “an essential challenge for today’s food companies, capital markets and society as a whole.”
It is increasingly understood that animal agriculture is an atrocity for the planet as well as for animals. A growing chorus of investors is suggesting that the protein gap should be filled with meat substitutes and alternatives. Of course, this is a trend that is already being reflected in the marketplace. And this report from Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR), “The Future Of Food: The Investment Case For A Protein Shakeup,” could increase interest in meat alternatives.
Specifically, the report examines “how investors can understand and address the related risks (of the protein gap), and take advantage of the resulting opportunities.” The authors begin the report by stating that “factory farming is emerging as a high-risk production method linked with significant environmental damage and major public health issues.” The current protein supply chain cannot cope with this reality — and the resulting consumer pressure — so something has to give. The authors suggest that investors should act now to help influence the protein supply chain, “with the aim to improve resilience through risk mitigation and innovation.”
The authors note that public health and environmental expenses associated with animal agriculture could be “up to $1.6 trillion globally by 2050.” Even the most “sustainable” forms of animal protein are bad for the planet: “chicken causes an estimated 40 times higher impact than legumes.” The authors implore companies to implement much-needed reforms throughout the supply chain. They also encourage investors to focus on innovation. The authors point to the rise of pea protein, which grew by 361% when it came to new product launches in 2014, and 183% in 2013. They also provide examples of companies that have introduced meat-free lines with success.
FAIRR says that companies should be encouraged by investors “to examine their exposure to protein supply chain risks,” and to make plans and set targets for “diversifying their protein sources.” What does this mean for animal advocates? For those who are also investors, the report is worth reading in its entirety. It contains a concise and damning set of statistics about the impact of factory farming on the planet, from a financial perspective. Of course, these statistics can also be used for advocacy purposes.