Countless consumers now recognise the environmental, animal welfare and health benefits in swapping a beef burger for a bean patty. This trend has not gone unnoticed in the food industry. The barbecue of the future is increasingly likely to see steaks and sausages swapped for alternative meat… produced entirely from plants. So the question is, if you have the food tech, are you confident you can capitalise on it?

The Barclays’ report, ‘I can’t believe it’s not meat’ identified the alternative meat market as one of the fastest expanding sectors of the global food industry – set to grow exponentially over the coming decade and potentially worth £100 billion annually by 2030. This increasing acceptance of plant-based alternative meat can only be good for those operating in the food innovation economy.

The scope for innovation

As the range of ‘faux meat’ proliferates, so too does consumers’ insistence on greater taste authenticity and quality. Many have already turned their back on meat. But not all punters want to sacrifice what’s familiar and trusted for non-traditional produce, perceived as ‘alien’.

Rewards are waiting for food innovators able to match this demand for animal-free products which look, smell and taste like real meat, yet use a fraction of the agricultural input and energy to produce. Strategies range from 3-D printing to advanced food chemistry, to create products closely resembling everyday animal proteins, using only plant materials. The IPO success of US based Beyond Meat and Israeli start-up, Redefine Meat’s recent $6 million investment, are indicative of the value of this developing industry.

Helping you taste commercial success

Vegetarian and vegan diets have undeniably gained significant traction with consumers on a global scale. For some countries, this may not be a particularly radical shift. But in the Western world, consumers are embracing concepts like Meatless Mondays and ‘vegan steaks’ with open arms (mouths). We are witnessing a food revolution, moving away from eating livestock to eating the plants those very animals feed on.

Knowledgeable and risk-aware advice can help innovators and investors derive maximum benefit from the growth of this meat-free movement, both on a national and global scale.