As one in three Aussies cut back on meat, the market for plant-based alternatives is set to explode

Shot during Lenklypse photo event in Switzerland.Good news for cows everywhere.
  • Plant-based meat alternatives are expected to boom, creating thousands of full-time jobs and adding up to $3 billion to the Australian economy by 2030, according to the latest projections from Deloitte.
  • The consultancy firm anticipates that booming demand is set to put a rocket under the current market — Australians currently spend $150 million a year on plant-based products but could spend as much as $4.6 billion by the end of the next decade, according to the new estimates.
  • The growth is expected to be driven by new found demand as the two in three Australians who haven’t yet tried a plant-based meat alternative dip their toes in the burgeoning sector.

“Don’t have a cow, man”, Bart Simpson famously insisted and it appears Australians are slowly but surely taking his well-intentioned advice.

One in three of us is consciously cutting back on our meat consumption and the growing demand for alternative looks set to drive a new cow-friendly market, according to new modeling by Deloitte and commissioned by Australian and New Zealand thinktank Food Frontier.

By 2030, Australians are expected to spend between $1.4 billion and $4.6 billion a year on plant-based meat, the research shows.

“It comes off the back of a wave of new plant-based meat products, enabled by advances in food science and culinary creativity, that aim to mimic the sensory experience of eating conventional meat with fewer environmental and health impacts,” Food Frontier CEO Thomas King said in a note surrounding the research.

“Put simply, we’re facing a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for Australia to become a global plant-protein powerhouse, and the great news is we already have the intellectual and infrastructure assets to seize it.”

With two-thirds of Australians yet to try a plant-based meat alternative, there’s plenty of room for growing demand. Currently, more than 100 products are stocked by 21 brands across the nation’s major supermarkets, which Food Frontier tips will be expanded further by year’s end.

If the overseas experience is anything to go by, there’s certainly the appetite for it. Beyond Meat, one of the most recognisable plant-based brands, had the most successful public company launch since the global financial crisis earlier this year as investors back the hype. In the US, fast-food chains including KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King have all jumped on the trend to offer alternatives to their flagship products.

READ MORE: Experts say watch these 5 companies clamoring to join the plant-based ‘meat’ market

That boom could prove a coup for the struggling Australian economy as well.

The same projections estimate that demand will help create 6,000 new full-time jobs and add nearly $3 billion in economic value. Victoria and New South Wales are expected to carve up the biggest slice of the pie, receiving around 30% of the jobs apiece. Queensland is expected to absorb 22%, while South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania are set to fight over the remaining single-digit slices.

For that scenario to materialise, however, both the public and private sectors will need to sink their teeth into the opportunity, according to King.

“Support from government and investment by business is urgently needed to drive nationwide job growth and the economic benefits projected over the next decade, ensuring a robust and competitive plant-based meat industry into the future,” he said.

“From research and development into ingredients and high-protein crops, to capacity building across all stages of product manufacturing, a range of opportunities exist for investment, and grant and tax incentives, to help grow this new sector.”

With economic growth at anemic levels, a new diet might just help save our bacon.

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