A Burger by Any Other Name?
By Christopher Delporte, ABA Banking Journal
October 11, 2021
There seem to be as many predictions about the future of the alternative protein as there are products in that market. Most everyone’s crystal ball predicts rapid growth, which would seem to make sense. Considering potential market size and current market share, there’s nowhere to go but up compared to traditionally sourced protein options. The bigger questions are what’s fueling the expansion, how steep will the growth curve continue to be and how do U.S. farmers and ranchers benefit, if at all? Is it an opportunity or obstacle for them?
According to figures released by the Good Food Institute, the alternative protein industry raised $3.1 billion in investment in 2020—three times more than any year in the industry’s history. According to GFI, a nonprofit focused on the plant-based food industry and “cultivated” meat and dairy products, the investment was three times more than what was raised in 2019 and 4.5 times more than 2018. The last decade saw a total investment of $5.9 billion.
“The surge in plant-based alternative proteins centers on several factors,” says Karol Aure-Flynn, a food and agribusiness industry adviser with Wells Fargo. “The momentum in health and wellness trends and the consumer focus on purpose-driven purchases is attracting attention to the growing market for substitutes for traditional animal protein. Alternative proteins, including plant-based and cellular, are positioned as an eco-friendly choice for consumers.”
Issues such as “factory farming” also have traction with the public, says Aure-Flynn. “People care about the treatment of animals and their health,” she adds.
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