Plant-based foods and alternative proteins that are friendlier to the environment will continue their meteoric rise in 2017.
The alternative protein movement has both ends of the spectrum covered, from time-old ingredients that tap into traditional regional cuisines – chickpeas in Middle Eastern falafel, soybeans in Asian tofu - to the cutting edge of food technology and innovation.
Think Impossible Food’s burger and its bleeding vegetable heme or Perfect Day’s cow-free milk, which uses food-grade yeast and DNA sequences to brew milk proteins in huge vats, then adds sugar, water and plant-based fats to the mix to create its ‘milk’.
But what should these new products be called? Is it misleading to say dairy-free cheese, vegetarian mortadella, plant-based yoghurt?
It will also be interesting to see if the rise of plant-based proteins will be accompanied by a simultaneous fall in meat consumption. Because if it isn’t then… what’s the point?
Germany, for instance, has seen some of its biggest meat processing companies begin to diversify their portfolio and produce vegetarian products – but this doesn’t mean they are processing less meat. They are simply exporting more to other countries. More a case of power to their pockets?