[Global] With the world’s population projected to hit 9.9 billion by 2050, experts are continuing to look for sustainable food sources to feed the masses.
Over the past two years, the food-tech industry has seen a huge movement in alternative protein development. The big question is, will we ever see plant and algae-based protein consumption overtake animal-based foods?
According to Minh Tsai, Founder, Hodo Soy Beanery, manufacturers need to harness their efforts towards some key priorities in order for plant-based protein to be successful:
Focusing on education, transparency and taste will be paramount. Impact on the environment is an area where many plant-based food companies must focus too.
It’s not just population growth that has triggered a movement towards alternative proteins. A “good for you” food movement where tech meets food is on the rise, says Vishal Vasishth, Co-Founder of Obvious Ventures.
“Millennials are becoming the biggest consumers. I’m a huge believer that they will shape and help build brands. Technology has seeped into the mainstream and generated personalisation and transparency, providing a differentiator compared to 50 years ago,” he says.
Having invested in Beyond Meat, Obvious Ventures continues to scope out innovative alternative protein companies. However, Vishal suggests that large-scale conversion to plant-based proteins will depend on the industry’s ability to build consumer demand by creating delicious, healthy products. “The challenge is that the product must be desirable in order to make it a great consumer brand.”
Asked how global demand for plant and algae-based proteins differs around the world, Minh believes tofu is an often-overlooked source of protein.
“The increased interest and demand for plant-based foods is allowing tofu to play a role in the conversation. Korea, Taiwan, and China are leading countries with product innovation for retail products. In the US, Hodo Soy Beanery is leading the conversation and education with consumers and chefs. In the next three years, tofu will have its second renaissance in the US.”
Minh and Vishal join a 40-strong speaking faculty at Future Food-Tech San Francisco on March 29- 30, 2017. This year’s summit focuses on transforming investment and innovation in food: from cultivated proteins to personalised nutrition and the microbiome.
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