Alternative protein is one of the trending consumer’s choices nowadays. This trending alternative protein is nutritious and the answer to the meat shortage problem caused by the growing world population, resulting in a shortage of land for livestock, the unreliability of the environment, and the decreasing resource for livestock. It is highly possible that alternative protein would soon become our staple food.
Over the past year, meat alternatives have made inroads in the Middle East, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, which have been in response to growing consumer demand. A report released in 2019 by consulting firm AT Kearney suggested that by 2040, most meat consumed by humans will not come from slaughtered animals but rather from plant-based alternatives or cultured meat—that is, grown from animal cells in labs. Major food brands in the Middle East are also now ramping up efforts to produce meat-alternative products to compete with companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Data Bridge Market Research also analyses that the Middle East and Africa market is growing with a CAGR of 12.3% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2027 and expected to reach USD 1,034,015.09 thousand by 2027.
There are three main reasons the alternative food industry would continuously be trending, growing, and becoming the upcoming business opportunities: the first reason is environment and sustainability. The livestock industry is one of the most harmful activities to the environment, with 1 in 4 global carbon emissions from food production and agriculture. Environmental awareness would make modern consumers prioritize sustainable food more.
The second reason is health and modern lifestyle. Easily accessible information and advancement in health science have created alertness and made more people take care of their health and make healthier consumption choices. This trend focuses more on prevention and healing. The data from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation finds that 1 out of 5 deaths can be prevented by nutrition, such as consuming unhealthy food that causes obesity, diabetes, coronary artery diseases, and intestinal diseases. This results in a higher focus on healthier nutrition choices.
The third reason is that the advancement of technology, especially in food biotechnology, food innovation, and smart farming, results in more choices for meat production. For the next phase, technology would develop more delectable produce with less production cost, resulting in more interest and access to alternative protein.
Another equally good choice from plant-based food is “insect proteins,” coined by FoodTech as “The Future of Protein.” The research on nutrition value has guaranteed that high-protein insects such as crickets and beetle larvae etc., gives protein up to 60-80% of their weight (about 3-12 times more than beef). The extracted protein from insects can be developed into more food products. FoodTech, an innovative start-up company from Germany, created “Plumento Foods” by processing insects into protein powder for mixing with pasta and pastry dough, giving flour-based dishes as much high protein as meat dishes.
Alternative protein is expected to be more popular in the future, creating new business opportunities for the food industry, including current meat industry entrepreneurs. In the short and medium period, the effect on the meat industry may not be much in terms of decreasing sales and income due to the small market of alternative protein currently being 2.5% of the meat industry. However, the alternative protein is predicted to be in higher demand in the future due to the reasons above. Meat industry entrepreneurs should focus more on alternative protein development to reduce the impact and create business opportunities from increasingly popular food trends.
In Thailand, alternative protein production in the food industry is also growing continuously too. Apart from increasing plant-based food business companies, in March, the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), under the umbrella of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), just announced the success of the research on “Alternative Protein from Microorganism” or mycoprotein produced for the first time in Thailand with collaboration with private companies. Mycoprotein is developed into minced meat analog and instant food products for the market, choosing a safe microorganism type that is food grade and effective for production. The key qualities of these microorganisms are high production of protein, appropriate fiber production, and free off mycotoxin, which is dangerous to consumers. This research will be the next step in the alternative protein processing industry.
For those interested in alternative protein or looking for business opportunities in the alternative food industry, don’t forget to visit Asia’s key F&B trade exhibition, THAIFEX Virtual Trade Show (VTS), the 365-day initiative, and THAIFEX-ANUGA ASIA 2021 — Hybrid+, the physical event by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Thailand. VTS welcomed 1,080 online registrants from 77 countries in their first edition in 2020, of which 752 buyers were successfully matched with their target exhibitors. This year will be open for 11 sector-specific trade shows, 3 special shows, and 11 trend topics under the roof. There will be digital initiatives such as business matching and onsite hosted buyer program to ensure that exhibitors can achieve maximum exposure and buyers can continue to enjoy extensive sourcing opportunities. The virtual meet for participants will also facilitate interactions with a carefully curated group of more than 500 international buyers due to the COVID-19 situation. VTS continues to engage local and international participants from May through September 2021, when the physical event takes place with additional elements such as live streaming.
THAIFEX Virtual Trade Show (VTS) is on 25 – 29 May 2021.
THAIFEX-ANUGA ASIA 2021 — Hybrid+ is on 29 September – 3 October 2021.
For more information, visit https://thaifex-anuga.com
And don’t forget to save the date.