A new roadmap by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, shows how Australia can serve up a wider range of high-quality protein products to feed the world’s growing population and help capture a $13 billion market opportunity for all types of protein.
The report ‘Protein: A roadmap for unlocking technology-led growth opportunities for Australia’, also outlines how Australia could create up to 10,000 jobs and become a global leader.
With an expected two billion extra people on the planet to feed by 2050, coupled with changing tastes and dietary preferences, the world is going to need to produce more protein, more sustainably and from more sources.
Growth opportunities include new plant-based products, turning lesser cuts of red meat into value-added protein powders and nutraceuticals, developing higher-protein and better tasting legume crops, creating a new sustainable industry in Australian white-flesh fish, and exploring non-traditional forms of protein like cultivated meat and edible insects.
CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, said Australia’s strong history and global reputation in agriculture and food present a big opportunity for future growth.
“As protein demand grows and new consumer trends emerge, solutions from science can help create new markets and complement our existing, globally competitive traditional markets. This will help shift Australia’s reputation from being the world’s food bowl of commodities to becoming a global delicatessen of unique higher value exports,” Dr Marshall said.
“CSIRO’s Future Protein Mission recognises the scale of this challenge and brings together a wide network of partners with the latest innovative technology to seize this opportunity for a resilient and sustainable food system.
“We can supercharge growth in our traditional protein industries by harnessing technologies like digital traceability and integrity systems that enhance the premium status of Australian red meat, and grow new complementary protein markets through techniques like precision fermentation to generate a suite of new Australian products.”
The roadmap highlights how protein demand can only be met by bringing together animal, plant and non-traditional protein production systems.
Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre FIAL’s Managing Director, Dr Mirjana Prica, said the global demand for protein represents a significant export opportunity for all of Australia’s protein players.
“Consumer demand is increasing for all protein sources. Australia has a real opportunity to have a thriving local food manufacturing sector, while becoming a leading exporter in value added traditional, plant, and novel protein products,” Dr Prica said.
“Building domestic capacity and infrastructure to not only tap, but to build scale, for the plethora of protein opportunities is critical if we are to switch from importing ingredients to producing our own domestically.”
CSIRO developed the roadmap drawing on its deep and broad connections in the sector to drive a conversation about how to grow this protein opportunity for national benefit, underpinned by the right infrastructure and technology.
The roadmap was developed in consultation with key stakeholders in government, industry and the research sector across Australia’s agriculture, food and innovation system.