Recent research published by Credit Suisse concluded that consumers are unlikely to make a full conversion to a vegan diet because processed foods are simply too tasty. Phil Morle, Partner at Main Sequence, the VC founded by CSIRO, the Australian Government agency responsible for scientific research, explains that we need to find a way to tap into people’s desire to eat more sustainably without sacrificing taste.
“The plant-based food industry is not going anywhere, and will be foundational to creating a more sustainable food system. According to a new report by BCG and Blue Horizon, alternative proteins could make up around 22% of the overall protein market by 2035 and by 2035 we could see one-tenth of all meat, eggs, and dairy consumed globally coming from alternative food sources.
Reforming the way we produce and consume food has never been more important. With the global population expected to grow to 10 billion by 2050, and food-related emissions contributing over 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions (a figure we can only expect to see grow), building a sustainable food system is critical.
Investment and innovation need to go hand in hand if we are to respond to the challenges of tomorrow. Australia is already making great strides towards building a resilient and sustainable food system. The labs, scientific talent and agriculture know-how are at our fingertips, making it likely Australia’s agriculture, scientific and business communities will come together to rise to the challenges of tomorrow.
Unlocking the mysteries of fats
But as the plant-based and alt-protein industry continue to grow, there will be one issue that continues to stand in its way — making plant-based foods taste like the real thing. And the reason why is fats.
Imagine cooking without fats, without the flavours and textures that fats make possible. Food wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable. This is the problem the alt-protein food industry is facing, and until we are able to make animal-free fats there is only so far the industry can go.
This is why companies such as Nourish Ingredients, who are working to unlock the mysteries of fats and create animal-free fats, are essential for the future of the industry. When it comes to the plant-based industry, fats are the final frontier if we want to deliver alt-food without the alt-experience.
A new recipe for company creation
In order to solve this global challenge, we need a new approach to innovation — an approach that thinks problem first, and takes the best in breakthrough science and the entrepreneurial spirit of founders, to create the next global giants that can solve our great planetary challenges. This approach is Venture Science, and it has the power to solve our biggest problems.
Instead of hearing pitches from founders with an idea, the Venture Science deal creation model starts by identifying a great challenge and a global opportunity, then assembling the science capability to tackle it, introducing a pathway into market through a leading industry player, and injecting venture investment to create a brand new company. It’s the model that gave birth to Australian plant-based meat champion v2food and an animal-free dairy company that we will be announcing soon.
Every problem you want to solve has at least the seed of a solution and it is happening right now in the research labs of the world. Venture Science brings these seeds and capital together and accelerates them with the unfair advantage of industry.
The combined force of entrepreneurship and science has the potential to deliver solutions at scale to the planet.”
Special guest contribution from Phil Morle, Partner at Main Sequence
Main Sequence has been heavily involved in the development of the plant-based industry in Australia and has backed v2food, Clara Foods and Nourish Ingredients. Main Sequence was central to v2’s 2-year journey from an idea to commercialisation.