Main menu


"Consumers don't want to compromise on the sensory experience."

Between now and 2050, the world’s population is expected to grow to nearly 9 billion people. As a result, the demand for protein increases. Animal-derived protein alone is expected to double compared to 2017 levels.

Growing awareness of the environmental impacts of animal husbandry – livestock production is estimated to contribute to 14.5% of global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions – drives global market for plant-based alternatives It helped me to

The global plant-based meat market is estimated to be worth $7.9 billion and is projected to reach $15.7 billion by 2027, according to Markets and Markets. The global dairy market, recently valued at $22 billion, is projected by Fortune Business Insights to grow by: $61.4 billion by 2029.

However, it is disputed whether plant-based meat and dairy alternatives have fully captivated consumers of their traditional counterparts.

“There is a problem” Nadav Berger, founder and managing director of food technology investor PeakBridge VC, said: “Meat consumption is increasing and its alternatives are not increasing at the same pace. [required to] make a difference, be different, He told delegations at the Future Food-Tech event in London. “At PeakBridge, we don’t think these alternatives are good enough.”na

It comes down to taste, texture and nutritional profile, he suggested: “No one wants to kneel…the general audience moves to [meat] Use alternatives only if they are palatable, clean, and healthy. ”na

How do we develop meat- and dairy-free alternatives that are better in taste and nutrition? Some argue that cellular agriculture is the only way.

Acceleration of adoption of new materialsna

Many food tech players are working to bring new ingredients to the market.

Meat and dairy products derived from cellular agriculture have not yet been commercialized in Europe, where Novel Foods’ regulations are stricter than in other regions. But in the US, precision fermentation-derived dairy company Perfect Day has been selling animal-free whey since 2019.

Milk Yogurt Vitapics

According to Alex Brittain, senior vice president of precision-fermented dairy company Perfect Day, changing consumer buying and spending behavior is nearly impossible. “We believe that providing people with known solutions and serving the same food differently is the path of least resistance.” GettyImages/vitapix

The company recently expanded into Asia, and according to Alex Brittain, who heads Perfect Day’s international strategy, development and operations, the business “has plans to expand to Europe in the near future.”

Regulation is undoubtedly a concern for pioneers in cellular agriculture, but Britten recognizes consumer acceptance and trust as “a major challenge” among all the barriers facing adoption of new food ingredients. I’m here.

Perfect Day’s senior vice president suggests it’s nearly impossible to change how consumers buy and spend.

In 2018, recipe box company HelloFresh commissioned a study on scratch cooking in the UK. Survey results show that a quarter of Brits, by trial and error, can only cook three recipes. “This shows how deeply ingrained shopping behaviors are and how they are related to eating habits.” He told delegations at the Future Food-Tech event.

“It will be a challenging road to ask people to try new and different things that compromise taste and nutrition.”na

Perfect Day leverages precision fermentation, where microbes are genetically programmed to express complex molecules to produce a biologically identical whey protein. Over the past few years, the company has launched animal-free milk, cream cheese, ice cream and chocolate products, either alone or in partnership with manufacturers.

“We believe that providing people with known solutions and serving the same food in a different way is the way of least resistance.” Britten said. “And we’ve found it easier to partner with large food manufacturers by providing known solutions because it’s easier to integrate known ingredients into recipes and existing production platforms. is.”na

“We cannot ask consumers to find a way out of the climate catastrophe.”na

Of course, there are “a small percentage” of people willing to compromise, suggests Perfect Day’s Brittain, about consumers making decisions by “thinking about sustainability” based on “logic.” I’m explaining. “But realistically, I think there are very few of those people.”na

Whether the responsibility lies with consumers or the food industry to reduce consumption of animal-derived products is another hotly contested topic.

Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli farmed meat start-up, doesn’t think putting the blame on the consumer is going anywhere anytime soon. “For the past 10-15 years, we’ve been telling consumers they should be shopping to get out of the climate catastrophe.” CEO Nicole Johnson Hoffman said:

“That’s not a smart approach to this problem. We need to provide supply-side solutions. We have to provide food that solves.”na

Future Meat’s solution is cultured meat grown from animal cells in a bioreactor. Farmed chicken and farmed mutton are the first products the company will bring to market, and farmed beef may be included in the pipeline.

Like Britten, Johnson-Hoffman admits that without meeting consumer expectations for sensory attributes, market disruption is by no means certain.

“Food has always had to serve the consumer. It has to offer a full sensory experience, it has to be priced to fit within their budget, and it has to work for their food traditions.” If you can’t deliver it, go home.”na

“Without better fats, we cannot transition to plants.”na

Others argue that plant bases can disrupt conventional meat and dairy products when these plants are blended with laboratory-grown animal fats.

According to Dr. Anastasia Krivoruchko, co-founder and CEO of precision fermentation-derived fat start-up Melt&Marble, it’s a no-brainer that the industry needs to move away from its current “unsustainable” farming system.

“But if we can’t provide a delicious experience, we won’t get there. Unless we can provide better fats, we can’t shift our consumption towards plants.”na

Admittedly, mimicking meat with plants is no meat feat. According to Dr. Krivoruchko, one of his biggest hurdles lies in the fat content of the plant-based analogue. “Fat is found in many products that contain protein, so it’s a very important factor for proper intake.”na

Burger Eclipse_Image

According to Melt&Marble co-founder and CEO Dr. Krivoruchko, one of the biggest hurdles lies in the fat content of the plant-based analogue. “Fat is found in many products that contain protein, making it a very important factor for proper intake.” GettyImages/eclipse_images

Dr. Krivoruchko also has issues with the sustainability profile of the fats currently used in plant-based formulas. Coconut oil is a popular choice, she told a representative. Some argue that

“It’s about making plant-based products that are not only tastier, but also more sustainable.”na

By engineering yeast to produce animal-like fat, Melt&Marble is already developing a beef fat alternative. The Swedish start-up’s technology can also create fats similar to chicken or pork, and Dr. Krivoruchko suggested that dairy-like fats are also an area of ​​interest. All with the aim of selling his B2B to manufacturers of plant-based alternative products.

But can regulation and costs be overlooked?na

The Melt&Marble CEO believes the plant-based/cellular agriculture hybrid category has the potential to win over consumers, but admits there are regulatory hurdles. Although based in Europe, the start-up will be forced to launch products across the pond in the US, where the regulatory framework is more “streamlined.”

“It’s faster and you can get something to market [over there] much faster,” she told the delegation. The EU’s Novelfood application process is “rigorous” and takes time, he suggested Dr Krivoruchko. “In general, this framework is really incompatible with innovation. Many precision fermentation companies have started in Europe and gone elsewhere.” [to enter] market. It’s a pity. ”na

Cost is another barrier accelerating adoption of these new animal-free products. Melt&Marble is aiming for a price of less than 10 euros per kilo, and really less than 5 euros per kilo.

London-based Hoxton Farms, a start-up developing fats cultured from real animal cells, is on track to achieve cost parity with coconut oil, a major alternative. Coconuts he wholesales for about $8 a kilo, and as Hoxton Farms scales, he hopes to bring it down to “low single-digit dollars” a kilo.

But as reflected by cellular farming startups across food tech events, “It’s not just the price”, Dr. Max Jamilly, co-founder of Hoxton Farms, emphasized:

“We know consumers are willing to pay more for a product that tastes better, and Beyond Burger shows that very clearly.”na