Wow, what an incredible experience we shared at the inaugural AltProteins 22 conference last week!
The buzz was palpable at the W Melbourne as nearly 300 attendees gathered for the region’s first-ever alternative proteins conference. AltProteins 22 held a number of exciting highlights throughout the day – here are our top five moments:
1 – Networking, and connecting – in-person!
After two years where gatherings were mostly online, and two Covid-reschedules, it was wonderful to finally connect with everyone in the industry *in person* again! The venue buzzed with enthusiastic conversations, as those within or just interested in the alt-proteins ecosystem gathered for the first time under one roof, meeting new collaborators, or catching up with old friends. We witnessed a diversity of conversations and new connections happening across the halls of the W, with interest in alternative proteins coming from scientists, farmers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, traditional meat producers, investors, policy makers, exporters and more.
2 – Delicious plant-based meat dumplings, tacos, and more
Of course, an alternative proteins conference wouldn’t be complete without a menu bursting with alternative proteins! Attendees were treated to some exciting dishes from our lunch sponsors MEET and Rogue Foods, and cocktail hour sponsor Fenn Foods. We overheard plenty of praise for the food across the day and multiple attendees admitted to going back for seconds (or even thirds!). Panellist Tony Green from Australian Foodservice Advocacy Body summed it up best on stage, proclaiming the catering was “amazing” and “knocked it out of the park!”
3 – “Get out to Horsham!”
It’s been a strong start to the year for government support for alternative proteins, with investment in new protein fractionation facilities in South Australia and plant protein R&D facilities in Horsham, Victoria. An address byVictorian Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development the Hon Mary-Anne Thomassignalled the importance that governments now place on the opportunities made possible through alternative proteins. Minister Thomas enthusiastically chided the audience to “get out to Horsham!” if they hadn’t yet visited Victoria’s grains powerhouse. She emphasised that “alternative proteins present opportunities to boost local food manufacturing and export capability, with room for everyone to grow.”
4 – Collaboration
Collaboration was a clear theme across the day, with panellists and speakers in several sessions talking about the need to collaborate across the supply chain, across industries and across other markets in order to capture the opportunity alt-proteins present. Ben Krasnostein, founder of Kilara Capital, spoke about the transformative power of the food and agriculture industry working together as a whole, rather than as isolated sectors, to tackle the climate crisis. Future Protein Lead at CSIRO, Michelle Collgrave, explained that the industry needs to be a part of conversations across the value chain and work together to create the right products in order for everyone to gain the greatest value from investment in our agricultural systems. In a conversation on regulating cultivated meat, Neel Reddy from Vow called for greater collaboration not just between companies and domestic regulators, but also amongst international regulators, to better foster regulatory progress and the eventual new market entries of cultivated meat products. Incoming CEO of Cellular Agriculture Australia Dr Sam Perkins highlighted the sentiment around a collaborative spirit perfectly: “We need expertise from every single field in order for the field to be successful.”
5 – Looking to the future
Global Food Futurist Tony Hunter’s keynote speech kicked off AltProteins 22 by putting the power in the audience’s hands, as he boldly proclaimed: “We are at a once-in-a-generation crossroads to fundamentally reimagine the global food system”. Panellists across the sessions that followed delivered with updates on exciting opportunities and future developments around the corner. Grains farmer David Jochinke said his family had been in the plant protein business for decades, but new conversations and opportunities around their use in meat alternatives is generating a fantastic employment and scientific development opportunity for regional Australians. Glen Neal from Food Standards Australia New Zealand explained that the agency is expecting its first ‘novel foods’ application to regulate the sale of cultivated meat in our region in the coming months, a process made more efficient by their work with the Singapore Food Authority, which was the first in the world to regulate such products . Vow also hinted that their first commercially available cultivated quail meat product will be available for sale in Singapore by the end of the year, under the brand name “Morsel”. Jim Fader from Eden Brew discussed the opportunities to use excess capacity and equipment in the wine and beer industry in his company’s precision fermentation applications, quipping about the potential for a “Barossa Valley Eden Brew”. We’ll be looking forward to these opportunities coming to fruition!
If you missed out on this year’s conference, be sure to sign up on the AltProteins 22 website to keep in touch for news on future events.
Thank you again to all of our event sponsors for making the day such a success:
Lead sponsor – The Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Food sponsors – Rogue Foods and MEET
Cocktail hour sponsor – Fenn Foods
General sponsors – Firmenich, Kilara Capital and v2food
Media sponsors – Food & Drink Business and Intermedia
READ MORE IN ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS NEWS: Food Frontier News