Plant and Protein Diversification

Shifting dietary patterns and agricultural systems to include a regenerative and diverse mix of healthy and sustainable plant-forward foods and alternative proteins is critical to support healthy people on a healthy planet. Plant-forward foods should make up about half of all diets but are currently consumed at much lower levels. To achieve the required food system transformation, we must increase the availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability and convenience of plant-forward foods across a whole range of nutrient-rich plants.

The Challenge

Diets low in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds are responsible for more deaths than any other factor globally, including tobacco smoking. In addition, diets heavy in animal-based proteins can have an outsized impact on the climate and nature. Despite the growing motivation to consume more plant-forward foods, consumers have difficulty transitioning to a more plant-based diet – especially in Western contexts. In addition to taste, barriers faced include concerns that plant-based products will hamper satiety or may contain undesirable additives. Key to enabling people to shift their diet is the availability, accessibility, and affordability of appealing plant-forward choices. Dietary variety is also critical to provide adequate nutrition – not only in the sense of different plant ingredients but also in several food categories. Food ingredient diversification can also have positive outcomes for soil, as crop rotation is a key pillar for regenerative agriculture systems. It is crucial that companies maintain both a global nutrition and sustainability view when increasing plant-based ingredients in foods.  

The Business Case

The global plant-based food market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.9% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $74.2 billion by 2027. And there has been significant investment in alternative protein start-ups across categories and geographies. All over the world, more consumers than ever before want to eat more plant-based foods because they find products that come from plants to be healthier, and/or they are concerned about animal welfare, the impacts of industrialized farming on our planet and in particular climate change. There is also a systemic shift underway towards regenerative agriculture systems, for which crop diversification and rotation can be a key tool. There is significant business opportunity to innovate and promote plant-forward products to meet and grow this demand, as well as to meet corporate sustainability standards around healthy diets and net zero emissions.  

The Business Solution

FReSH works with its members to provide knowledge, tools, training, and multi-stakeholder platforms for companies to successfully develop and implement their strategies and concrete solutions to support plant-forward food production and protein diversification. This aims to support a global shift towards increasing the diversity and share of plant-forward foods and proteins in diets, by increasing the availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability and convenience of products across the whole range of nutrient-rich plant categories. We bring in experts along the value chain who can share cutting edge research and market trends related to plant-forward diets, alternative proteins, and ingredient diversification.  

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