Expert opinion

Alternative proteins as an extra

As is the case with every exiting new development, there is a lot of attention for alternative proteins these days.

Products like plant based burgers, vegetable based chicken nuggets and meat-free minced ‘meat’ are gaining popularity in many countries around the world. They are new, mostly developed by young start-ups who are extremely savvy in public relations and let’s be honest they taste good as well.

Alternative proteins will not replace meat, with the huge increase in the worlds protein demand it will evolve as an extra choice on the protein pallet. Photo: Canva
Alternative proteins will not replace meat, with the huge increase in the worlds protein demand it will evolve as an extra choice on the protein pallet. Photo: Canva

Cost of promoting plant based protein

Long gone is the era when plant proteins were boiled down to a near tasteless tofu. The new products are often marketed as a healthy or environment friendly alternative to meat. Until now the plant based meats are sold at a premium and that is not because they are expensive to produce. Basically it is nothing more than pushing plant protein and water through a specialised extrusion machine and then adding a marinade. It’s the marketing costs to breach traditional consumer behaviour in buying real meat that makes plant based proteins so expensive.

Also read: Food Forward – is Animal Protein here to stay?

Alternative proteins will not replace meat

And they are replacing meat to some extent. If one is susceptible to marketing, one would start to believe that we are all going to become vegetarian. However, in the long run alternative proteins will not replace meat. With the huge increase in the worlds protein demand it will evolve as an extra choice on the protein pallet. With a growing population and prosperity there will be insufficient animal protein to cater demand.