Alternative protein must move beyond plant-based & taste to reach full market potential

Currently, animal protein alternatives have captured a mere 1-2% of the $1.4tn meat market, but to reach levels of market penetration closer to the 40% of the milk category enjoyed by dairy alternatives, protein players – and investors – will need to diversify, Jeff Grogg, managing director of JPG Resources, Darren Streiler, managing director of ADM Ventures, and Sanjeev Krishnan, chief investment officer and managing director of S2G Ventures, said earlier this month at IFT’s virtual annual meeting & expo (IFT FIRST).

They noted that the majority of development in the alternative protein space category currently is plant-based with much attention paid to recreating the taste and texture of animal protein – and while this has served the industry well so far, the next wave of growth will come from other sources, such as fermentation, air and mycoprotein, and will need to offer better nutrition at a better price point for the consumer.

But for this to happen, limited resources and funding likely will need to be redistributed – meaning the some underperforming companies may have trouble raising funds – causing them to fold or be sold.

“Certainly, there are too many companies. At some point, not all of these companies are going to win. There’s going to be companies that get bought or washed over. There will be failures for sure,”​ Grogg said.

But, he added, “that doesn’t mean the market is saturated by any means. It just means there is too many that don’t have enough reason to win.”

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