ADM’s protein outlook is a deeper dive into one of the seven top consumer trends identified by the company for 2022.
Leticia Goncalves, ADM’s president of global foods, said: “In the last 12 months, the number of plant-based meat, cheese and dairy products available to consumers has more than doubled”.
She continued: Innovation-driven by future-forward brands like Air Protein, Future Meat Technologies, Nature’s Fynd, in partnership with larger industry players…are transforming the way we will feed a growing global population sustainably. Products aimed at meeting the heightened demand for health-forward solutions that can deliver on evolving consumer taste and texture expectations will continue to come to market over the next decade.”
The findings, based on research conducted by ADM’s proprietary Outside Voice consumer insights platform, reveal what’s next for alternative proteins, which are expected to rise to $125 billion by 2030.
1. Novel protein sources, from cell-based to fungi and air
Soon enough, consumers will be eating burgers produced from elements found in the air, or from a slice of cheese made from fungi with origins in a national park.
Brands are exploring a wide range of innovative protein sources to supplement the industry’s continued focus on pea and soy. Cell-based solutions made from cultivated animal cells are on their way to becoming increasingly mainstream as industry leaders, such as Future Meat Technologies, are developing more efficient processes for manufacturing meat products at scale.
Beyond cell-based options, a number of new and existing players in the space are exploring novel protein sources coming from air particles, volcanic ash, seaweed, insects and more.
2. Fermentation as-a-service
There has been growing interest in microbial fermentation as a novel method for developing alternative protein products.
Global players that have expansive fermentation capabilities are exploring new ways to serve food, beverage and health and wellness brands that are seeking support with downstream processing, lab services and consulting, among other components essential to food-grade fermentation.
3. Next-generation, plant-based, whole-muscle solutions
Whole-muscle plant-based solutions, such as chicken breast alternatives, are becoming increasingly available to consumers in markets all over the world.
These solutions will continue to evolve as brands seek out novel ways to reproduce the texturisation of animal-based whole-muscle cuts, from T-bone steaks to shellfish.
4. Innovation and transparency from seed to fork
As concerns about climate change continue to grow, consumers are increasingly demanding greater sustainability in existing food systems, leading many to seek out brands and products that can provide the plant-based solutions they crave in a way that’s environmentally and ethically sound.
Seed-to-fork initiatives, as an example, leverage cutting-edge technology to improve seed breeding, and lessen the cost, time and environmental impact associated with creating consumer-ready protein sources.
5. Moving toward price parity of cultivated meat products
Companies like Future Meat Technologies are helping power a move toward more price parity of cell-based solutions with more traditional alternatives.
In December, the company announced that it is now producing cultivated chicken breast for just $7.70 per pound, down from approximately $18 per pound six months prior. These types of products will be more accessible to consumers in the near future.
6. Kid-friendly product formats
Plant-based chicken nuggets are just the beginning. New products featuring kid-friendly flavours, colours and formats – such as dinosaur-shaped nuggets – are becoming a focus for brands looking to appeal to flexitarian parents and kids across varying life stages and ages, from yogurt to pizza and mac and cheese.
ADM’s Outside VoiceSM research indicates that the largest cohort of flexitarian consumers are parents who are looking for mealtime solutions that delight and nourish all family members.
7. Plant-based versions of traditional, authentic cuisines
From plant-based shawarma to schnitzel and shrimp dumplings, brands are exploring solutions that can provide the regional specificity and appeal that today’s consumers desire.
Through new products featuring an assortment of globalised flavours, textures and product formats, brands are aiming to deliver an array of tasty, satiating comfort food analogues.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023