We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Charlie Hyland at StoneX.
UK Government urged to back alternative proteins in fight against climate change
Social Market Foundation has just released a new report calling on the UK government to invest in alternative proteins to meet its climate targets.
The paper said encouraging the consumption of “alternative proteins” that do not come from animals would be politically easier for ministers than taxing traditional products.
Raising cows, sheep and chickens contributes to carbon emissions, and to meet its climate targets, Britain will need to reduce meat consumption. Alternative proteins have a significantly lower emissions impact, the report notes. The SMF said artificial meat could make it much easier for consumers to make that change, so ministers should significantly increase support for the fledgling industry.
The Government could recoup a wide array of benefits by supporting alternative proteins, including opening up a green export opportunity for British businesses, reducing the risk of zoonotic diseases and improving animal welfare, the report argues.
It points to government strategic and financial support for other markets associated with the Net Zero transition and said alternative proteins deserved similar attention.
The UK has committed £90m to support new alternative protein research, but the SMF said the figure should rise. Otherwise, it argues, the country risks being left behind in a global race to develop alternatives. It notes Singapore last year became the first country to give approval for the sale of lab-grown chicken meat.
The report notes animal agriculture accounts for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The official Committee on Climate Change has said the amount of meat eaten in the UK needs to be brought down by more than a third by 2050.
One study has suggested plant-based substitutes have a greenhouse gas emissions footprint up to 93% smaller than conventional meat production.
However, the report observes that, despite the growing popularity of diets and products designed to reduce how much meat is in the diet, meat consumption is not falling quickly. It said the UK today consumes only 6% less meat per capita in the home than in 1974.
The SMF said significant policy interventions will be needed to help consumers change their buying and eating habits more quickly. Political conversation has so far focused on the prospect of taxing people into reducing meat consumption, however, the Prime Minister has said he will not impose new meat taxes.
The report said, “The rapid expansion of the alternative protein market offers a way to reduce meat consumption through consumer choice.
“A thriving alternative protein sector is likely to be a condition for winning consent for any future interventions designed to reduce meat consumption. Without adequate alternative product offerings, the contested issue of a future ‘meat tax’ could be met with resentment.”
It said governments around the world are recognizing the need to incubate the alternative protein sector, given the high-risk, multi-disciplinary nature of R&D and the potential benefits to the public finances, economy, human health and the environment.
“The UK Government has already committed public funds and strategic support to a range of markets associated with the Net Zero transition, such as offshore wind and electric vehicles. Policymakers should consider applying the same logic to the alternative protein sector as a means of taking a non-intrusive first step towards reducing meat consumption in the UK.”
The paper’s author, Linus Pardoe, SMF research associate, said, “A greener world will mean eating less meat, but politicians cannot expect consumers to easily stomach a tax which raises the price of meat. Early skirmishes suggest a so-called ‘meat tax’ could descend into an unconstructive cultural debate.
“A better solution would be to help consumers transition to more sustainable dietary habits by expanding the range of alternative protein products on the market. We can only expect consumers to switch from eating meat if product offerings are high-quality, affordable and easily accessible.
“The Government can help deliver a thriving alternative protein market by providing funding for a new research cluster and strategic support for the industry. The global race for alternative proteins is on and the UK should be leading the charge.”
Good Food Institute comments
Elena Walden, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said, "The UK is the second-largest market for plant-based foods in Europe – but countries like Singapore and Israel are miles ahead in terms of actually developing a sustainable protein ecosystem.
"To capitalize on their potential to create thousands of jobs, and avoid simply importing the plant-based and cultivated meat consumers demand, the government must invest at least £125m in homegrown research and development."
The Good Food Institute Europe is an international NGO helping build a more sustainable, secure and just food system. It works with scientists, businesses and policymakers to advance plant-based and cultivated meat, eggs, dairy and seafood to make them affordable and accessible across Europe.
Bunge launches Betapol Organic OPO for manufacturers of organic infant milk formula
Bunge has announced its plant-based lipids business, Bunge Loders Croklaan, has launched Betapol Organic, the first China and EU Certified Organic OPO (oleic-palmitic-oleic or SN-2 palmitate) for infant milk formula (IMF).
Inspired by the natural composition of human breast milk, Betapol Organic is the latest offering in the company’s infant nutrition portfolio.
“As the inventor of the OPO category, and as part of our ongoing innovation efforts, we are proud to announce that our Betapol product is now Certified Organic,” said Dr Emiliano Rial Verde, vice president of Bunge Loders Croklaan Nutrition.
“We’ve seen the demand for organic infant milk formula growing, but clinically proven ingredients with organic certification are lacking. Now, we are the first in the market to offer our customers a premium OPO ingredient with dual EU and Chinese Organic certifications.”
The market intelligence agency Mintel reported the global number of organic IMF product launches has grown from 5% in 2015 to 13% in 2021. The Asian organic baby food market constitutes 20% of the global market and has been growing at 12% a year since 2015. China is fueling this with a year-over-year growth of more than 20% in organic baby food, and 30% in organic IMF. Stricter standards for organic certification have also led to a rise in consumer confidence and thus demand for organic products. With the introduction of Betapol Organic, Bunge Loders Croklaan said it is working to meet these market demands.
Betapol from Bunge Loders Croklaan, is an established infant formula ingredient with clinical benefits proven since the 1990s. OPO is a uniquely-structured lipid naturally present in mother’s milk. The presence of palmitic acid in the middle position (SN-2 palmitate) has been clinically proven to improve energy intake, reduce constipation, increase bone mineral density, positively affect healthy gut bacteria, improve fine motor skills, reduce crying and result in better sleep.
Betapol Organic allows the production of organic infant milk formulas with the clinically proven benefits of OPO which, until now, were only available to conventional formulas.
Next to infant milk formula ingredients, Bunge Loders Croklaan is growing its organic portfolio, offering a steady and scalable supply chain of organic oils and fats, ranging from sunflower, rapeseed, soy and palm to shea and coconut. The company is also broadening its network of organic farmers to develop reliable organic supply chains.
Tetra Pak on ice cream
The global ice cream market is expected to hit $75bn by 2024 and to maintain growth, brands are constantly having to innovate new recipes and flavors, while responding to changing consumer demands.
Tetra Pak, one of the world’s largest food processing and packaging businesses, works with its customers to bring these new flavors to life by experimenting with new ingredients and creating new ice cream concepts in both the traditional dairy and plant-based sectors.
As much as 50% of the world’s ice cream is produced using Tetra Pak equipment and lines, allowing them to identify ice cream trends including how vegan diets and the search for sustainable food choices are changing the nature of ice cream.
There’s a growing interest to try alternative ingredients and plant-based ice cream, as well as ice cream with health benefits such as with added probiotics. Ice cream makers are responding – Mintel data shows Denmark has seen a 700% rise in plant-based ice cream launches over the last five years, followed by 200% in Vietnam and 130% in Australia. Meanwhile, 17% of new plant-based ice cream launches in 2020 were in the US.
Globally, plant-based ice creams have doubled their share of the market over the last five years. Pea-protein and coconut milk are leading the way, but Mintel data shows last year oat-based ice cream launches also doubled. Yet, consumers still expect that these alternatives tick the traditional ice cream boxes of indulgent, rich, creamy and delicious.
Tetra Pak is helping brands experiment with these new ingredients at its product development centers.