As demand for alternative protein sources growsAustralians are increasingly looking for healthy, sustainable and ethical options.
At CSIRO, we produced a “protein roadmapto guide investments in a diverse range of new products and ingredients. We think plant-based patties, lab-made meat and insects are just some of the foods that are set to fill Australian fridges by 2030.
The roadmap outlines the foundations for a future with greater choice for consumers and better results for Australian producers for all types of protein.
Changing Protein Preferences
Australia is one of the largest countries per capita beef consumersbut there has been a steady decline in consumption over the past two decades.
most common reason because eating less red meat is the cost, followed by health, environmental and animal welfare concerns.
At the same time, the meat consumption of the middle class in countries like China and Vietnam has increased.
This shift in demand creates an opportunity for protein producers to grow and diversify.
Producing vegetable proteins locally
The plant protein industry is still small in Australia. However, it is ramp up quickly.
The total number of plant-based protein products on grocery store shelves has doubled over the past year to more than 200. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the demand for these products has increased by around 30% over the last two years.
Plant-based food products are made by processing various plant ingredients (such as whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and oilseeds) into food products, including breads, pastas, and alternatives to meat and to dairy products.
Lupins, chickpeas, and lentils can be made into plant-based burgers, while protein powders can be made from fava beans or mung beans.
Most of the herbal products available today are either imported or made in Australia from imported ingredients, so there is plenty of room for Australian growers to enter the industry.
The story behind the steak
Meat will continue to be a staple in many people’s diets for years to come.
When we eat meat, Australian consumers are increasingly asking questions about where their meat comes from. On this front, “digital integrity” systems can be a useful solution.
These systems track everything from ingredient origins to nutrition, sustainable packaging, fair trade and organic certifications. They also keep records of associated working conditions, carbon footprint, water use, chemical use, animal welfare consideration and environmental impacts. biodiversity and air quality.
An example is made by Sydney-based company NanoTag Technology: a unique micro-dot matrix pattern printed on the packaging of meat products which, when scanned with a handheld reader, checked the authenticity of the product. Buyers can see the product’s packing date, lot number, and factory of origin.
Seafood is also a important source of healthy, low-fat protein. Demand is growing for cheap local white fish such as barramundi and Murray cod.
While Australia produces 11,000 tonnes of whitefish per year, it matters almost ten times this amount to meet annual demand.
In response to this request, the Australian aquaculture industry has ambitions to reach 50,000 tons of local products by 2030.
Precision fermentation is another technology for creating protein-rich products and ingredients, potentially worth A$2.2 billion by 2030.
Traditional fermentation involves using microorganisms (such as bacteria and yeast) to create foods, including yogurt, bread, or tempeh.
In precision fermentation, you customize microorganisms to create new products. The US-based company Every company, uses custom strains of microorganisms to create a chicken-free substitute for egg white. In the same way, perfect day has created cow-free milk.
Do you still want to eat meat, but are concerned about animal welfare or environmental impacts? Cultured or cell-based meat is biologically similar to the regular variety, but the animal cells are grown in a lab, not on a farm.
australian company Wish manufactures pork and chicken meat, as well as kangaroo, alpaca and water buffalo meat from animal cells. These products are not yet commercially available, although chef Neil Perry has use a few to create a menu in 2020.
Edible insects, such as crickets and mealworms, have been part of cuisines around the world for millennia, including Australia’s First Nations people.
Insects have a high nutritional valueare rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamins B12, C and E.
Insect farming is also considered to have a low environmental footprint and requires less land, water and energy.
australian company harvest circle sells a line of insect-based edibles, including pasta and chocolate brownie mixes fortified with cricket powder.
Protein is vital for our health. However, so far its production has put a strain on the health of most other ecosystems. The CSIRO Protein Roadmap not only offers sustainability, but also more choice for consumers and opportunities for Australian producers.