On Thursday June 4th, we launched the latest edition of our series of international webinars on innovation in the food sector, with an aim to discuss the most relevant initiatives facing our food system today.
In the webinar “Riding the Plant-Based Wave: Leading the Food Revolution” we were joined by industry experts Nir Goldstein, Managing Director-Israel of The Good Food Institute; Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Managing Director, Alternative Protein at Cargill and José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, who shared their visions and insights into the present and future of alternative protein.
Nir Goldstein explained that one of the main goals of The Good Food Institute is to work on increasing the production of plant-based meat substitutes, to ensure they offer sustainable products that mimic the taste and texture of their animal protein counterparts.
Elizabeth Gutschenritter stated that for Cargill an important objective is to offer clients and their customers food in a more sustainable and safer way. “We work throughout the supply chain to meet this need, and we have seen that protein consumption has increased worldwide for years,”.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:
Increased demand for plant-based products in recent years
For Nir Goldstein, there are four main reasons for this increase: economic, health, environmental and animal welfare awareness. According to his forecast by 2030, these products may occupy 10% of global meat market consumption. “This sector has attracted more investment this year than in all of last year,”.
Elizabeth Gutschenritter agreed and added that this increase resides in the interest of consumers demanding more sustainable and healthy products on shelves, although 93% still continue to eat meat.
Startups as an innovation engine
Innovation continues to be vital for corporations which increases the need to collaborate with startups, which offer more agile mindsets and increased ability to adapt faster and more efficiently to consumer demands, essential if wanting to achieve competitive advantages in an often crowded market.
For José Luis Cabañero, mutual support between corporations and startups is imperative to satisfy new consumer demands, adding that innovation and speed are the most important tools today to survive in the market.
Success stories of collaboration between startups and industry in plant-based
One of the collaborative success stories that stands out for José Luis Cabañero concerns the University of Berkeley, which launched alternative protein training programs along with incubation programs for startups in the sector
“There have been a lot of investments in the sector, especially in marketing and in the R&D departments in cell-based and plant-based. Our partners are helping us to bring the product closer to the market ”, acknowledged Elizabeth Gutschenritter.
For Nir Goldstein, the best success stories come from experience and learning that one internalizes when discovering how to move forward in the future. “There are a significant number of products that are in the initial phase of flavor texture adaptation, but are not developed on a large scale. Startups must move from pilot tests to more industrial developments to find out if they like their products on the market or not. ”
Effects of the pandemic on the plant-based boom
Nir Goldstein stated that despite the effects of the pandemic we are still seeing startups securing significant investments which represents a positive trend in terms of funding and growth. “For example, Impossible Food got a half-trillion dollar investment during Covid-19. We see growth in the food sector of 200% that is partly driven by the consumption of alternative protein products,”.
Elizabeth Gutschenritter predicts that plant-based consumption will increase in the coming months. Why? Consumers are seeking healthier and more sustainable-driven food and this will remain post-covid. To keep up with the squeeze of new consumer behaviour, companies are developing and launching fast solutions, like KFC in China.
Missed this webinar? Check out the video