What challenges are you facing to achieve your aim of reducing global consumption of animals by 50% by 2040?
The appetite for alternative proteins and plant-based food products is growing, with animal-free protein increasingly viewed as the healthier choice. However, the plant-based sector and plant-based products face three major obstacles: taste, texture, and price. As such, plant-based foods must effectively imitate the familiar flavours of their conventional counterparts, whether meat, seafood, dairy, or eggs. Plant-based alternatives should also look and feel the same as their animal-based equivalents. And, finally, price is crucial – plant-based foods are often more expensive than animal-based products despite the fact they are often far cheaper to produce. At the moment, the prices – and costs – of plant-based options are still too high.
What awareness campaigns have you recently introduced?
We recently introduced the Diet Change Not Climate Change campaign. It aims to put a shift towards a more plant-based diet on the global agenda. We created a platform to harmonise various stakeholder groups for strategic collaboration and impactful action. At United Nations Environment Assembly 5.2, our UN Advocacy Team was on the ground in Nairobi working hard with other NGOs to push for the approval of the resolution on the Nexus between Animal Welfare, the Environment, and Sustainable Development. Before the meeting, in a letter directed at UN leaders and signed by more than 150 other NGOs, ProVeg urged member states to put sustainable food systems at the centre of the talks.
What recent trends do you see in plant-based food?
As the plant-based industry grows and matures, we can expect new-generation product launches and bigger funding rounds. Fungi and fermentation-based meat and seafood is an underexplored category with massive potential. We predict that fermentation companies are going to take off this year, ushering in a new generation of alt-protein products.
How do you see the plant-based market in Europe evolving?
We can see the tremendous growth of plant-based food in Europe, with a huge increase in sales of plant-based food. The European plant-based market grew by 49%, recording a sales value of €2.4 billion from September 2018 to October 2019 and €3.6 billion from September 2019 to October 2020. In most countries the market is led by plant-based milk, followed by plant-based meat.1 We expect the growth to continue, driven by increasing consumer awareness of the health and climate impact of animal farming. According to our research, 46% of Europeans have already reduced their meat consumption, and around 30% intend to reduce their dairy consumption.
What recent innovations in plant-based/cultured food are you particularly optimistic about?
I am particularly excited about recent developments in the cultured meat sector. Until now, Singapore has been the only nation to approve the sale of cultured meat, but we expect movement on this in 2022. The Dutch government has just allocated 60 million euros to support the formation of an ecosystem around cellular agriculture! It is promising to see Europe stepping into the field.
What do you hope to achieve at the FFF expo in Barcelona?
The goal of ProVeg International is to show the potential of plant-based foods in Europe with an increasing share of consumers purchasing plant-based foods products, many product development opportunities, and impressive growth sales. Join me to discover new opportunities in Europe's plant-based food market, learn about the leading and most promising market segments, and understand European consumers’ consumption behaviours and expectations around plant-based food