Australian demand for plant-based meat surges

Australian demand for plant-based meat surges

Demand for plant-based alternatives to meat grew exponentially in Australia last year, with health concerns driving the surging trend.

According to a new report from think tank Food Frontier with modelling from Deloitte, plant-based meat sales were up 48 per cent in the year to June 2020, with the number of new jobs more than doubling in the sector.

Further, manufacturing revenues increased from $35 million to nearly $70 million.

According to Food Frontier, this growth was driven foremost by health concerns, with the '2020 State of the Industry: Australia's Plant-Based Meat Sector' report noting the industry is expected to rise further post-pandemic.

On the back of this acceleration, Deloitte is forecasting consumer sales in Australia's plant-based meat sector could hit $3 billion annually by 2030 from its FY20 level of $185 million, and create more than 6,000 jobs.

However, to get to that point, Food Frontier CEO Thomas King says governments need to support investment in R&D and infrastructure for the burgeoning industry.

"With the right political will, Australia can build a multi-billion-dollar plant-based meat industry, enabling our food businesses and farmers to capitalise on fast-growing global demand for alternative products," says King.

Globally, plant-based meats are expected to command 10 per cent of the US$1.4 trillion global meat market by 2029 according to research from Barclays, driven by the rise of 'flexitarians'.

King says Australian companies will be well-positioned to capture this growth, especially in Asia, where consumer demand for alternatives is expected to grow 200 per cent over the next five years in China and Thailand alone.

"Australia's plant-based meat companies are eyeing export opportunities and will be watching demand trends overseas closely, while some, including Fable Food Co, Fenn Foods and v2food, have already launched into Singapore, Japan, Korea and other Asian markets," says King.

"Australia has the agricultural capacity, commercial appetite and research know-how to become an international leader in new protein industries including plant-based meat.

"To not make the early investments necessary to leverage these unique strengths would be a missed opportunity."

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