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The five alternative protein trends in 2024

The five alternative protein trends in 2024

Rahul Bhushan

15 years: Structured Products and Sustainability

Discover how policy, political changes, investment shifts, and culinary innovation could revolutionise the alternative protein industry

The five alternative protein trends in 2024

The alternative protein landscape is evolving rapidly, driven by technological advancements, policy changes and consumer preferences. As a food investor deeply embedded in this sector, I’ve observed several pivotal trends poised to shape the future of alternative proteins in 2024. Here’s an in-depth look at what’s on the horizon.

1. Policy-Driven Market Expansion

The global policy environment is increasingly supportive of alternative proteins, recognising their potential to provide sustainable consumer choices, generate jobs and reduce reliance on dwindling natural resources. In 2024, we expect to see an escalation in policy initiatives aimed at bolstering the alternative protein industry. These could include new financing mechanisms like loan guarantees, which signal a growing governmental acknowledgment of the sector’s importance. Such policies will likely foster vital industrial infrastructure, making public resources more attuned to market needs and driving the sector’s growth.

2. Election Year Dynamics and Bipartisan Support

With 2024 being an election year in the United States, the political climate will significantly influence the alternative protein sector. Historically, the sector has been viewed as a bipartisan solution addressing food security, agricultural research and economic growth. The industry is expected to navigate the political landscape by reinforcing its nonpartisan stance and emphasising its role in maintaining U.S. competitiveness. Collaborations across the alternative protein ecosystem will be crucial in preparing for various political outcomes that could impact federal and state-level policies.

3. Startup Maturation and Investment Shifts

The alternative protein sector is moving beyond its nascent stage, leading to more mature, well-positioned startups entering the scene. These companies are expected to de-risk their technologies and end products through rigorous testing and analysis, drawing lessons from early industry challenges. While the era of exuberant valuations may wane, this correction is anticipated to fuel stable growth, attracting more measured and strategic investments.

cooking alternative proteins

4. Cultivated Meat Diversification and Regulatory Approvals

The cultivated meat sector is on the brink of significant expansion, with more product approvals anticipated in regions like the United States, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. This expansion will not only enhance product diversity but also bolster safety and nutrition data, aiding consumer acceptance. Additionally, advancements in reducing the costs of media ingredients and improving production efficiencies are expected to drive down prices and environmental impacts, making cultivated meat more accessible and sustainable.

5. Culinary Innovations and Consumer Engagement

The convergence of alternative protein companies and the culinary world is set to intensify in 2024. Partnerships with chefs and culinarians will push the boundaries of flavour and texture, integrating alternative proteins seamlessly into mainstream cuisine. This trend is expected to demystify alternative proteins for consumers, highlighting their versatility and aligning with broader sustainability goals.

Conclusion

As we advance into 2024, the alternative protein sector stands at a pivotal juncture, shaped by a dynamic blend of policy, investment and consumer engagement. These trends signify a maturing market that is increasingly integrated into the global food system, offering promising solutions to some of our most pressing environmental and food security challenges. By staying informed and adaptive, stakeholders across the alternative protein landscape can contribute to a more sustainable, resilient and nutritious food future.

Rahul Bhushan
About the author

Rahul Bhushan

Rahul Bhushan, a seasoned asset manager with over a decade of experience, has a proven track record in building ETFs, including Europe's first battery technology ETF, an e-commerce ETF, an environmental impact ETF, and a sustainable food and agriculture ETF. His expertise in product development, strategy, research, sustainability, and client delivery, coupled with his willingness to "take bets" on finance trends, has enabled him to provide unique perspectives and solutions to investors, resulting in better investment outcomes. Currently, he is co-founder and director of Rize ETF, a London-based asset manager and ETF provider specialising in thematic and sustainable ETFs for European investors.

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