A new report by consultancy firm Bain & Company and capital fund ZINTINUS says the “transformation of the world’s food market towards a more sustainable model is now at a tipping point, within an annual global food market of US $8 trillion.”
Sustainability will define the future food supply, and the report identifies alternative proteins as a key trend to help the sector improve consumers’ health while reducing food waste and its overall carbon footprint.
According to the report, 40% of Millenials and Gen Z say they have been eating more healthily since the start of the pandemic, with 75% saying they spend more on buying sustainable food products. While plant-based foods still only make up about 1% of the total food market, they are quickly outpacing incumbent products by a factor of 5 to 1. In the US, UK and Germany, 54% of consumers say they have tried plant-based protein at least once, while 47% report consuming it at least once a week.
Health-forward and price parity as next steps
The plant-based milk market continues to enjoy robust success and innovations in dairy-free butter, cheese, yogurt, as well as sustainable plant-based seafood, have met with positive consumer response. While such products continue to advance in taste and texture, the next plant-based evolution is expected to focus more on the true healthiness of products, and on reaching price parity with animal protein.
Transforming at scale
The report also highlights the many potential health and environmental benefits of cultivated meat and precision fermentation. While these technologies hold great promise to provide the taste and nutritional benefits of animal products with fewer environmental impacts, producers should remain cautious and mindful of potential regulatory hurdles for their processes and ingredients.
With food demand predicted to increase by more than 50% by 2050, an annual investment of US $150B is required to make the food sector truly sustainable, the report concludes.
“Transforming the global food sector into a more sustainable industry is one of the most urgent tasks of our time that will bring vast benefits to consumers, society and our planet,” says Olaf Koch, co-author of the report and CEO of ZINTINUS. “Fortunately, establishing a more sustainable and healthier system is absolutely possible with the right platforms to foster food tech innovation and deliver sustainable products to consumers.”
The full report can be found here.