Beef bites: Lab protein a competitor for cheap meat

Beef bites: Lab protein a competitor for cheap meat

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Plant-based proteins will not retail for much less than animal-based and therefore will not replace commodity meat on a wide scale basis.

Those investing in plant-based proteins are chasing niche, premium markets, says Australian Farm Institute executive director Richard Heath.

However, cultured meat is potentially a different kettle of fish.

In discussing a new report delivered by AFI and funded by Agrifutures called The Changing Landscape of Protein Production, Mr Heath said the research concentrated on insect and plant-based protein because these products were at the commercial stage.

The report found new demand for red meat from a rising population would outweigh any additional market share that alternative proteins may gain in the near future.

"We haven't mentioned cultured meat because nothing in that space is commercial yet so there is not enough data to make a forecast of substitution rates," Mr Heath said.

However, he felt this was the product more likely to compete in low-cost markets and replace cheap meat into Asia - although he emphasised this was speculation at this stage.

Change requires thick skin

Consensus is not practicable in an industry the scale of Australia's red meat game, says Don Mackay, chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council.

Speaking about plans to reform industry structures and update the 'rule book' - the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding - Mr Mackay said big changes were made by those with a very thick skin.

The MoU delivers the plan of attack for the red meat industry's policy, advocacy, marketing, research and integrity systems and has been under review for the past year, with some large scale recommendations for change, including an overarching body offering one single voice.

The process has attracted plenty of distracters.

In a candid talk at a recent Rural Press Club of Queensland event, Mr Mackay said by necessity in both industry and in business, you will always be "dragging the squeaky wheel to the finish line."

"These are not the people for whom we should set ambitious policy and investments, nor are they the ones we can hold back progress for," he said.

"Part of having an opinion means actually addressing the underlying issues in a highly-charged political space.

"Spending the next ten years complaining about the increasing anti-meat movement, the lack of leadership in response, perpetuating the plethora of small breakaway stakeholders and good old agri-politics is simply not good enough.

"We need to get on with it - put aside our individual biases and help raise the tide that lifts all vessels."

Meat Business Women

Global networking group Meat Business Women is stepping onto the world stage with founder Laura Ryan to speak at the World Meat Congress in Cancun, Mexico in June.

Touted as the most influential and informative event on the global meat industry calendar, the WMC brings together approximately 1,000 international delegates to discuss issues and trends affecting meat and livestock organisation which are fundamental for sector outlook.

MBW's Australian arm was launched last year and events in Melbourne and Brisbane have been sold out. It aims to develop the image, culture and landscape of the meat industry to make it more attractive to female talent.

"It's no secret that the industry is facing some enormous challenges yet there is so much potential around where we can position our sector. Ensuring we have access to the best possible talent pipeline is crucial and placing an international spotlight on our objectives will help us to achieve that," Ms Ryan said.

The story Beef bites: Lab protein a competitor for cheap meat first appeared on Farm Online.

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