Let's talk about the food transition

Apr 1, 2024

According to the United Nations, the world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 2 billion persons in the next 30 years. Also, the middle class is growing rapidly. In 2020, the global middle class spent approximately $35 trillion. By 2030, it is predicted that middle-class spending will rise to $64 trillion, or about 36% of the global GDP. Obviously, these factors will lead to a great rise in demand for food, and therewith (animal-based) proteins. Since food production is responsible for a third of all global greenhouse gas emissions, we have to think of a sustainable way to fulfill this demand.

The current food system is failing us in terms of livelihoods, human health and the environment. In this blog, we will mostly focus on the latter. Current protein production and consumption is causing exhaustion of natural resources, which is growing with the increasing demand for animal-based protein sources. The production of meat has increased fourfold since the 1960s and is expected to be almost twice as high in 2050 compared to 2008. Disturbing, since a research by Oxford University has shown that the diet of a low meat-eater produced twice as much greenhouse gasses compared to a vegan diet. For a big meat-eater, this is even the fourfold of a vegan diet. Besides the greenhouse gasses, meat production requires more than twice as much water compared to vegan protein sources. Therefore, we have to look for other options to keep up with the increasing global demand for proteins.

Luckily, a lot is happening in the food and protein industry. Top universities, governments and companies are exploring, researching and introducing environmentally-friendly protein sources. And this is being well-received. The global meat substitute market size was estimated at USD 10.1 billion in 2023, and is expected to hit around USD 233.87 billion by 2030. Besides the classic meat substitutes, there are a lot of promising techniques upcoming, such as cultured meat production and precision fermentation. In addition, we are exploring alternative protein sources, such as insects and algae, which are promising in terms of both sustainability and nutritional value. These new protein sources could play a key role in feeding a growing world population and reducing our ecological footprint.

Obviously, we are a great believer of spirulina as one of the key players in the food transition. It provides a completely vegan alternative to animal-based protein sources. As all the essential amino acids are present in the protein of spirulina, it can perfectly contribute to a complete vegan diet. Besides, it offers health benefits due to its low calorie content, vitamins, added minerals and antioxidants. And regarding the sustainability matter; production saves up to 99% of land and water resources compared to other protein sources such as soy and meat. Additionally, during the cultivation process large amounts of carbon dioxide are converted into oxygen. It is not without reason that the World Health Organization (WHO) has dubbed it the food of the future.