How The Food Industry Is Innovating To Meet Demand For Protein


As demand for alternative protein sources grows, Australians are increasingly looking for options that are healthy, sustainable and ethically made.

At CSIRO, we have produced a “protein roadmap” to guide investments in a diverse range of new products and ingredients. We believe plant-based patties, lab-made meat and insects are just some of the foods set to fill Australian fridges by 2030.

The roadmap sketches out the foundations for a future with greater choice for consumers, and better outcomes for Australian producers across all types of protein.

Changing protein preferences

Australia is one of the world’s largest per-capita beef consumers, but there has been a steady decline in consumption over the past two decades.

The most common reason for eating less red meat is cost, followed by concerns related to health, the environment, and animal welfare.

At the same time, meat consumption among the middle class in countries such as China and Vietnam has been rising.

This shift in demand is creating an opportunity for protein producers to expand and diversify.

Producing plant-based protein locally

The plant protein industry is still small in Australia. However, it is ramping up rapidly.

The total number of plant-based protein products on grocery shelves has doubled over the past year to more than 200. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows demand for these products has increased by about 30% in the past two years.

Plant-based food products are made by processing various plant ingredients (such as wholegrains, legumes, beans, nuts and oilseeds) into food products, including breads, pasta, and alternatives to meat and dairy.

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Lupins, chickpeas and lentils can be turned into plant-based burgers, while protein powders can be made from faba or mung beans.

Most plant-based products available now are either imported or made in Australia using imported ingredients, so there is plenty of room for Australian producers 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 do eat meat, Australian consumers are increasingly asking questions about where their meat came from. On this front, “digital integrity” systems can be a useful solution.

These systems track everything from the origin of ingredients, to nutrition, sustainable packaging, fair trade and organic certifications. They also keep a record of associated labour conditions, carbon footprint, water use, chemical use, animal welfare consideration, and impacts to biodiversity and air quality.

One example is made by Sydney-based firm NanoTag Technology: a unique micro-dot matrix pattern printed on the packaging of meat products which, when scanned with a pocket reader, verifies the authenticity of the product. Buyers can see the product’s pack date, batch number and factory of origin.

Seafood is also an important source of healthy and low-fat protein. Demand is growing for local, inexpensive white-flesh fish such as barramundi and Murray cod.

While Australia produces 11,000 tonnes of white-flesh fish annually, it also imports almost ten times this amount to help meet annual demand.

Responding to this demand, the Australian aquaculture industry has ambitions to reach 50,000 tonnes of homegrown produce by 2030.

Fermented foods

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 food including yoghurt, bread or tempeh.

In precision fermentation, you customise the microorganisms to create new products. The US-based Every Company, uses customised microorganism strains to create a chicken-free substitute for egg white. Similarly, Perfect Day has created a cow-free milk.

Man made meats

Still want to eat meat, but are concerned about animal welfare or environmental impacts? Cultivated or cell-based meat is biologically similar to the regular variety, but the animal cells are grown in a lab, not a farm.

Australian company Vow is making pork and chicken, as well as kangaroo, alpaca and water buffalo meat using cells from animals. These products are not yet commercially available, though chef Neil Perry did use some of them to create a menu in 2020.

Edible insects

Edible insects, such as crickets and mealworms, have been part of cuisines around the world for millennia, including Australian First Nations Peoples.

Insects have a high nutritional value, are 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 Circle Harvest sells a range of edible insect products including pastas and chocolate brownie mixes enriched with cricket powder.

Protein is vital to our health. However, until now its production has placed strain on the health of most other ecosystems. CSIRO’s protein roadmap offers not only sustainability, but also more choice for consumers and opportunities for Australian producers.The Conversation

About The Authors

Katherine Wynn, Lead Economist, CSIRO Futures, CSIRO and Michelle Colgrave, Professor of Food and Agricultural Proteomics, CSIRO

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Recommended Books:

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind -- by Peter Wayne.

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind -- by Peter Wayne.Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School supports the long-standing claims that Tai Chi has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind. Dr. Peter M. Wayne, a longtime Tai Chi teacher and a researcher at Harvard Medical School, developed and tested protocols similar to the simplified program he includes in this book, which is suited to people of all ages, and can be done in just a few minutes a day.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs
by Wendy and Eric Brown.

Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Wendy and Eric Brown.As part of their commitment to self-reliance and resiliency, Wendy and Eric Brown decided to spend a year incorporating wild foods as a regular part of their diet. With information on collecting, preparing, and preserving easily identifiable wild edibles found in most suburban landscapes, this unique and inspiring guide is a must-read for anyone who wants to enhance their family's food security by availing themselves of the cornucopia on their doorstep.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It -- edited by Karl Weber.

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About ItWhere has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably? Expanding on the film’s themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

You May Also Like

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration




baseball player w;ith white hair
Can We Be Too Old?
by Barry Vissell
We all know the expression, "You're as old as you think or feel." Too many people give up on…
climate change and flooding 7 30
Why Climate Change Is Making Flooding Worse
by Frances Davenport
Although floods are a natural occurrence, human-caused climate change is making severe flooding…
made to wear a mask 7 31
Will We Only Act On Public Health Advice If Someone Makes Us?
by Holly Seale, UNSW Sydney
Back in mid 2020, it was suggested mask use was similar to seat belt wearing in cars. Not everyone…
coffee good or bad 7 31
Mixed Messages: Is Coffee Good Or Bad For Us?
by Thomas Merritt
Coffee is good for you. Or it’s not. Maybe it is, then it isn’t, then it is again. If you drink…
protect your pet in heatwave 7 30
How To Keep Your Pets Safe In A Heatwave
by Anne Carter, Nottingham Trent University et
As temperatures reach uncomfortably high levels, pets are likely to struggle with the heat. Here’s…
is it covid or hay fecer 8 7
Here’s How To Tell If It's Covid or Hay Fever
by Samuel J. White, and Philippe B. Wilson
With warm weather in the northern hemisphere, many people will be suffering from pollen allergies.…
inflation around the world 8 1
Inflation Is Spiking Around The World
by Christopher Decker
The 9.1% increase in U.S. consumer prices in the 12 months ending in June 2022, the highest in four…
nordic diet 7.31
Does The Nordic Diet Rival Its Mediterranean Counterpart For Health Benefits?
by Duane Mellor and Ekavi Georgousopoulou
Every month there seems to be a new diet doing the rounds online. One of the latest is the Nordic…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities | | | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.