Market & Trends

New Report Highlights Top 7 Emerging Trends in Alternative Protein

Global food processor Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has released a 2022 report spotlighting emerging trends in the protein alternatives market. The report selected seven prominent trends driving industry growth and innovation:

  1. Introduction of novel proteins

Air-based meat and volcanically-sourced protein are two examples of innovative protein sources being explored in the field. While novel ingredients vary by nutrition, functionality, flavor and price, there is a strong preference among producers for ingredients that are local and/or fully traceable. Cultivated meat remains a leading area of new protein development, with over $1.2 billion invested in cultivated meat and seafood startups.

Cultivated Meat Meatball
©Mosa Meat

2. Fermentation-as-a-Service (FaaS)

With increased interest in microbial fermentation for alternative protein products, the report says expanding food-grade fermentation capabilities for brands is essential. ADM will soon partner with Asia Sustainable Foods Platform to provide precision fermentation consulting services. 

3. Next generation, whole-muscle cuts

Whole muscle cuts of plant-based meats, such as chicken and steak, will continue to evolve as techniques to replicate texture and structure advance. The report notes whole muscle protein alternatives are a greatly underrepresented category and offer a huge plant-based market opportunity.

Plant-Based Steak ReDefine Meat
© Redefine Meat

4. Seed-to-fork innovation and transparency 

Seed-to-fork programs use technology to improve seed breeding and reduce other environmental impacts of alt-protein production. Companies are also improving transparency by monitoring supply chains and ingredients from sourcing to processing, packaging and distribution. 

5. Cultivated price reduction

The report cites Future Meat Technologies, which lowered the price of cultivated chicken breast from $18/ pound to $7.70/ pound as proof that cultivated meats will become more mainstream and accessible.

If the FDA and USDA approve cultivated meat by mid- 2022, as some experts predict, the first US cultivated meat sales could begin later this year. 

Future Meat Technologies Sandwich
©Future Meat Technologies

 6. Kid-friendly products

New products featuring fun flavors, colors and formats will continue to grow, as flexitarian parents extend protein alternatives to their children. 

7. Plant-based versions of traditional, authentic cuisines

To meet the growing demand for plant-based regional cuisines, brands are offering more culturally-relevant dishes such as shawarma, schnitzel, biryani and dumplings. As part of this trend, ADM recently partnered with Marfrig, the world’s largest beef patty supplier, to produce plant-based burgers for the Latin American region. 

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