A year on from the inaugural AltProteins conference delegates, speakers and sessions came together again to create an even bigger event that was just what the industry needed in a tumultuous year for the sector.
Held in Naarm, Melbourne, on Wurundjeri Country, the conference drew over 400 attendees who heard from industry leaders and experts in the alternative protein sector. With concurrent sessions covering a wide array of topics, the event provided a platform for in-depth discussions. Food Frontier will delve into the key takeaways from these sessions in the weeks ahead.
Work together to grow the industry
Founder and Chair of Food Frontier Thomas King opened the day with a message to industry that a huge level of genuine collaboration is required and the idea that every cell agriculture company can successfully develop end-to-end production, or that every plant-based business can own and run their own major facility is unrealistic. This was one of six key requirements he said are needed to advance the industry.
Collaboration was also highlighted in other sessions across the day. Eden Brew’s Jim Fader said there are sleeping giants of manufacturing assets and business relationships that could be taken advantage of and David Bucca of Change Foods and Dr Victoria Hatton of FoodHQ Innovation Limited said industry-led collaboration with backing from the government is important, stressing the need to pull resources together to service the entire industry.
Woolworth’s Mauro Pisani brought a retailer’s perspective to the conference highlighting that plant-based meats are in an incubation stage and that times might be tough now—and we will see more companies close—but there’s a bright future ahead.
There was no shortage of advice and tips to food manufacturers on the day, with one of them being to focus on the ‘conscious consumer’ which is expected to be key in growing alternative protein sales. Nathaniel Tupou of one of Australia’s largest plant-based meat exporters v2food said conscious consumers will make up 36% of alternative protein spend now, expected to increase to 50% in the near future. Conscious consumers have single or double incomes, no children, live in metro areas and value sustainability.
Plant-based foods showcased
We think it’s important to use large gatherings such as these to showcase the range of flavours, textures, and aromas plant-based meat can bring. Sofitel’s 5-star chefs prepared a range of meals, from plant-based roast “duck” bao, plant-based “beef” rendang curry, and Thai-style plant-based meatballs to roasted plant-based meatloaf and plant-based schnitzel Caesar wraps.
Networking is a highlight for many delegates at AltProteins and there were plenty of opportunities during session breaks and immediately following the conference for people to mingle and exchange ideas and contact details.
A big thank you to all the moderators and presenters who made the conference so successful.
AltProteins 23 was made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Agriculture Victoria, Change Foods, dsm-firmenich, Buhler, Kerry, Eden Brew, Unigrain, Merck, La Trobe University, Earth from the makers of Coco & Lucas’ Kitchen, MILKLAB, v2food, Love BUDS, Cale & Daughters, and Grater Goods.