Plant-based food sector 'needs £20bn of investment by 2030'

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Demand for plant-based food is growing rapidly, according to GFI iStock credit: vaaseenaa
Demand for plant-based food is growing rapidly, according to GFI iStock credit: vaaseenaa

Related tags vegan Ingredients & nutrition Supply chain

Plant-based food manufacturers will need £20bn of investment by 2030 to secure 800 large-scale factories to keep pace if consumer demand for their products continues to grow as predicted.

That's according to a report​ released on 26 January by GFI Plant-based meat: Anticipating 2030 production requirements. ​The document assumes each factory will process an average of 30,000 tonnes of food a year.

It ​argues the industry will need to boost capacity as much as tenfold to 25m tonnes of food annually to cater for expected year-on-year growth of 18% driven by plant-based food trends. That would enable it to reach 6% penetration of the global meat market by the end of the decade.

GFI claims the sector would need to process ten times the projected global supply of pea protein and three times the projected global supply of soy protein concentrate ​— important plant-based meat ingredients. It stresses there would be sufficient crops - the potential supply challenge would be increasing processing volumes.

20% of global coconut supply

Almost 20% of global coconut supply would also be required.

New cultivars for crops, new ingredient solutions, particularly for plant protein concentrates and non-animal sources of saturated fats and new public and private financial backing would also be required.

“By 2030, the world will need at least 800 factories (producing an average of 30,000 tonnes each) to deliver 25 million tonnes of plant-based meat,"​ Liz Specht, GFI’s vice president of science and technology, said. "If we can get there, we can slash the climate impact of our food system, free up vast areas of land to restore nature, and create jobs.

'Invest in plant-based research'

“But that isn't going to happen by magic. Governments and business leaders must invest in plant-based research and infrastructure now to position themselves as leaders in this fast-moving industry with bold ambitions for 2030.” 

Carlotte Lucas, corporate engagement manager at GFI Europe, said: “Demand for plant-based food is rapidly growing throughout the world – particularly in Europe where many consumers say there aren’t enough options available. I know from the research I’ve carried out with manufacturers that there is already a need for more infrastructure as the sector expands. 

“The EU, national governments and the food industry across the continent must pay careful attention to the findings of this report and provide the investment that is urgently needed ...”

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