This post points to a report I have co-authored as part of my job at Boston Consulting Group. The content of this post, however, reflects my personal views and not those of my employer.
Alternative proteins have reached the mainstream in 2021 - many major fast-food outlets feature animal-free versions of their food, and products like almond milk are household staples. In a recent report, titled Food For Thought: The Protein Transformation (short version and long version), Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon estimate that the market for alternative proteins will grow to 97 million metric tons per year by 2035, when it will make up 11% of the overall protein market. Faster technological innovation and greater regulatory support could speed growth to 22% by 2035.
This is a bright outlook: At 11% of all protein, alternatives would be worth $290 billion a year in 2035 - roughly the size of Finland’s GDP today. The promise of this market is attracting significant capital. Plant-based, microorganism-based, and animal cell-based proteins are being developed in universities, start-ups and large food companies.
And there is a to-do list: The report describes what needs to happen to get to 11%, and further to 22% of meat, seafood, eggs and dairy eaten globally every day. Current technology must be refined and scaled, and in some areas, step changes are needed. For instance, optimized protein crops for human consumption need to be bred, and microorganisms as well as animal cells grown on low-cost feedstocks. Regulatory support, such as carbon taxes on meat or subsidies for farmers who are shifting from animal agriculture to alternative proteins, could further boost growth.
Check out the report to find out more, and drop me a note if you have questions! I do work at BCG, so I may take a few days to respond, but I'll aim to get back to everyone.