COVID-19 Accelerates Acceptance of Vegetarianism & Also the Emphasis on the Environment. Protein Alternatives to Gain $4.7 Billion on Both Counts.
The global market for Protein Alternatives is projected to reach US$4.7 billion by the year 2027, trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 8% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027. Non-animal based sources of protein are environmentally sustainable as compared to crop and animal based sources. By the year 2050, approximately 75% more food will be required to feed the population thereby exerting huge pressure on food production systems. By 2050, it is estimated that the agriculture industry, crops & livestock farming will be faced with the challenge of producing 974 more calories per person per day. In comparison arable land is expected to decrease. As population continues to grow and availability of arable land declines, demand for alternative protein sources is poised to witness robust growth. Over the last 40 years, the world has lost a 1/3rd of arable land due to soil erosion, land pollution and destruction and conversion of land for other purposes, such as highways, housing and factories. Future potential for cropland expansion remains fairly limited. Growing from the present baseline by 30% over the period 2010-2050, the global population is poised to reach 10 billion by the year 2050, with Africa contributing to half of the population growth for the period. Per capita consumption of food will also increase at the back of the growing base of affluent middle class population and a parallel increase in appetite for high quality, nutritious food. To meet this food challenge with current day agricultural technology and practices will mean a devastating impact on the environment in the form of carbon emissions.
Animal agriculture already accounts for over 5.5% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Over 46.8% of anthropogenic methane emissions comprises methane which is 38 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is the leading cause of climate change. Interestingly, animal agriculture accounts for over 78% of total agricultural emissions. The livestock sector is also the largest polluter of water resources and is the leading cause of global deforestation. Livestock farming is linked to over 78% of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Over a 1/3rd of biodiversity loss can be linked to animal agriculture. Animal farms discharge pesticides, antibiotics, and heavy metals into water systems. While industrial effluent and wastewater is highly hyped and strictly regulated, animal farms in most countries around the world are not bound by environment regulations. Global livestock produce 10 times more sewage than humans, most of which is left untreated. The industry also poses health risks to communities in the form of animal to human viral infection transfers. In addition, unregulated and over use of antibiotics has and will continue to create the risk the antibiotic resistance, which is already emerging into a major public healthcare crisis. Irresponsible manure management additionally raises the risk of aerosolizing fecal matter that may reach increase the risk of respiratory problems. Livestock waste also pass through soil to groundwater, which may then contaminate nearby streams and rivers with nitrates and pathogens. The current rate of demand for meat and dairy products will result in animal agriculture accounting for 70% of the allowable GHG emissions over next decade. Policy decisions taken to limit global warming to 2°C will need annual emissions to be reduced from current levels of 49 gig tons of CO2 to around 23 gigatons by 2050 and without intervention agriculture will use up 20% of those gigatons, leaving only three for the rest of the global economy. Achieving a sustainable food future is only feasible option available which requires a "great balancing act" of meeting multiple needs simultaneously such as feed the growing population, close the food gap and reduce agriculture's environmental impact. The time is now ripe for alternatives to animal protein to make a mark in global markets.
Also expected to benefit the market are studies linking faster COVID-19 recoveries with higher protein intake. Given that social distancing measures cannot continue forever to restrict disease transmission, living with the virus until a vaccine arrives is the harsh reality that faces mankind today. With no clear and effective treatment for the infection available despite accelerated global efforts to develop medical defenses against the virus, people the world over are turning to food, nutrition, exercise and physical well-being to tide over this unprecedented public health crisis. With medicines failing to provide help, lifestyle habits and food are the only options left to strengthen the immune system to fight the virus. Adequate intake of micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, sodium, amino acids are necessary to boost innate and adaptive immunity and ability to fight viral infections. Health foods which were growing in demand even before the pandemic is therefore witnessing significantly higher growth now. High protein & fibre rich foods are prime among the healthy foods popularized to improve immune health. Protein helps boost the body's immune system and replaces damaged body tissues and strengthens muscles. COVID-care hospitals are increasingly providing protein and calorie rich food for in-patients recovering from the infection. The growing number of infections and the rise in the number of recoveries therefore bodes well for protein consumption. With over 5,264,190 people recovered and convalescing and with active cases standing at 3,973,840, the demand potential is immense. Healthy people are also increasing their protein and calorie intakes. Plant based protein supplements are especially witnessing strong demand gains supported by the growing focus on plant proteins among the growing number of self-defined adult vegetarians. The scenario is driving up demand for protein ingredients especially use of soy protein ingredients in dairy replacement, infant foods and meat alternatives. Protein hydrolysates are also emerging as a special nutritional ingredient for the aging population given this demographic cluster's high risk in acquiring the infection.
Competitors identified in this market include, among others,
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