The rise of the plant-based food sector

Nuts and seeds used in plant-based food processing.

The plant-based food sector has exploded, with no signs of stopping.

According to a recent report from Credit Suisse, the market for plant-based food will grow 100 times larger by 2050. A focus on healthy eating is part of the trend but it’s only one driver.

The trend for plant-based food

Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainable agriculture and lower carbon emissions. A case in point is New Zealand’s Foodstarter competition which showcases the most innovative food and beverage products in the country. This year the judges identified three significant food trends in the 217 entrants – purpose-led, plant-based, and functional or unique beverages.

The stakes are high. Forecasts for the global food industry predict global sales for plant-based food producers will climb from $US14 billion to $US1.4 trillion within 30 years.  Australia’s share of the plant-based protein market is predicted to reach US$3 billion by 2030.

What is ESG and what does it mean for food processors?

ESG is an acronym for the three central factors – environment, social, and corporate governance – used to measure the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business.  Consumers expect food processors to do the right thing concerning issues like climate change and human rights, and they want to know corporate policies are in place as part of a governance oversight.

Investors are rushing to the plant-based food sector because of changing consumer habits and opinions about their food supply.

How will ESG impact the food and beverage industry?

There are a number of ways increasing consumer interest in plant-based foods and ESG impact food manufacturers. According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the new ESG mindset expects real action from companies.  Greenwashing and box-ticking exercises are coming under scrutiny with investors and consumers asking two kinds of questions.

  • What is the risk to your company? How does ESG affect your company and what is the associated risk by not addressing it in your business?
  • Is your company creating risks for others? Are you damaging the environment or contributing to social problems?

Food manufacturers must consider this dual inward-looking and outward-looking view when assessing the impact of ESG on their broader operation.

  • Despite the enthusiasm for plant-based food and protein replacements, meat and junk food are not going away any time soon. Why? Most consumers won’t make a full conversion to a vegan diet because processed food is simply too tasty. That means food manufacturers have an opportunity to add plant-based products to an expanding market.
  • Smart packaging and recycling are becoming even more important for food production. Consumers will continue to fault manufacturers who aren’t making an effort to reduce excess and unnecessary packaging.
  • Wastage in your materials handling and plant processing will also be under scrutiny. Businesses who are transparent about how they manage their production processes, and can claim improved efficiencies, will benefit from an opportunity to address the consumer market with their progress.
  • Reducing your energy footprint is good for operational costs but is also going to be another data point consumers use in their decision-making. Again, those companies who can show they’re making progress to conserve energy use are going to be in favour with consumers.

How Floveyor makes a positive contribution to ESG

As consumers and investors drive growth in plant-based foods, more dry powders and granules will be involved in materials handling for food processors. Animal protein will be replaced by high-protein grains, legumes, and nuts. Plant-based protein flours, like lupin, will become an essential part of the trend. This is where original Floveyor machinery and equipment excels.

Only an original Floveyor, manufactured in Perth, Western Australia, can safely transfer so many different kinds of dry powders and granules in a fast, energy-efficient manner with minimal degradation of materials. Wastage and spillage are at an absolute minimum due to the engineering focus that goes into every Floveyor conveyor. In addition, the sheer longevity of Floveyor machinery makes it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to futureproof the conveying process or bring an old plant into compliance with consumer demands.

Get in touch for more information

If you’re ready to explore how you can improve your ESG , get in touch with us. We can help you conduct trials and equipment comparisons to ensure you’re processing facility is operating in the way investors and consumers want to see. We’re ready to help you find the best conveying solution for your plant and will work with you to ensure the conveying solution you choose today will be the workhorse for your bulk materials handling for years to come.