Working together, meat substitutes can make protein transition a success
'The emerging importance of sustainability and healthy eating has fueled the demand for alternative protein sources, but a mature market is still a long way off.' - Kef van Helbergen, Associate Partner, explains how the protein transition does allow us to make leaps and bounds.
The world of meat substitutes has seen a remarkable in recent years. The emerging importance of sustainability and healthy eating has fueled the demand for alternative protein sources, but a mature market is far from a reality. One interesting aspect is the volatility of the meat substitute market over the past five years. We see a peak in demand for it followed by a decline. We can partially attribute this to the intense competition for supermarket shelf space. However, there are also other reasons for the failure of some products: lack of taste and unhealthy additives, mainly salt and sugar. It doesn't prove easy to provide attractive and flavorful products.
People often mistakenly think that meat substitutes are a sustainable alternative. This is not always the case. For soy production, an essential component of many meat substitutes, forest land is often flared, mainly in Brazil and India. Producers will have to pay extra attention to the origin of raw materials before making sustainability claims.
Many meat substitutes are marketed by young companies, which often do not know the whole range of issues that make such a product successful: food technology, taste and marketing. As an entrepreneur, the business model should be based more on collaboration with established parties. Just make sure you have the best raw material, a protein that you can produce in an environmentally friendly, stable way. You can easily incorporate it into food products. Then, use this semi-finished product to partner with producers who understand food technology and marketing. And then make sure that they are a little less lazy with the product, and instead of adding lots of salt and sugars, strive to get something tasty on the shelves. That way, the protein transition can leap forward.