Advancing alternatives to meat: Tyson Foods sets up sustainable protein coalition
22 Jan 2020 --- Tyson Foods is creating the Coalition for Global Protein, a multi-stakeholder initiative to advance the future of alternative protein sources. The meat industry heavyweight is convening leaders from the global protein industry, which includes all forms of protein, alongside academia, non-governmental organizations and financial institutions this week at Davos, Switzerland, at the 50th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The coalition marks Tyson’s sharpened focus on sustainable protein and underscores the meat giants push for diversification.
“Efforts to make the production of high-protein foods more sustainable must continue,” stresses Dr. Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, who moderated the conversation.
“These foods, many from animal sources, are vital for the healthy growth of young children, especially those who already have poor quality diets. It is vital that their production can be undertaken in a way that respects planetary environmental boundaries. This Coalition promises to be a valuable addition to our collective efforts to square this circle.”
Davos 2020 is currently focalizing alternative proteins. This includes a “Future Food Wednesday” event, with meat alternatives provided by Nestlé catered to attendees. “The Plant-Based Revolution” is pegged by Innova Market Research as the second most significant trend expected to influence NPD this year, fueled by growing consumer awareness of the impact of meat consumption on both personal and planetary health.
The expected objectives of the Coalition will be to increase understanding around the challenges of feeding a growing population with more varied and sustainable protein options; identify new and creative solutions; and activate those solutions through pilot programs. Potential focus areas include reducing food loss and waste (FLW), increasing access to protein and safeguarding ecosystems. The Coalition will publicly report on commitments and progress throughout 2020.
“As one of the world’s largest food companies, we want to help ensure the responsible production of affordable, nutritious food for generations to come,” says Noel White, CEO of Tyson Foods. “We’re introducing this Coalition because we know that we cannot achieve this alone. Collective commitment and immediate action are needed to deliver the greatest impact on the future of sustainable food production.”
Sustainability throughout the food ecosystem is noted as “fundamental” to Tyson Foods’ core values, which call on the company to “strive to serve as stewards of the resources entrusted to us.” The company has previously committed to improved land stewardship practices on two million acres of corn, partnered with the World Resources Institute to set Science-Based greenhouse gas reduction targets, committed to reduce water intensity by 12 percent in 2020, and is currently working with Proforest to identify deforestation risks across the company’s global supply chain.
“We’re focused on uniting the world’s most influential, food-focused stakeholders around a shared purpose to build a future of protein that is sustainable and equitable across global communities – at every link in the supply chain,” says John Tyson, Chief Sustainability Officer of Tyson Foods. “Igniting transformative change in our food system requires industry-wide collaboration and a willingness to go beyond our individual businesses through strong commitments and actions.”
Meat giants tap into diversified protein
Tyson Foods is making strides in plant-based arena. Last year, the US’ largest meat processor sold its stake in Beyond Meat, signaling its intention to enter the alternative protein space with its own products. Unveiling its alternative protein products and new Raised & Rooted brand to keep pace with shifting consumer preferences, Tyson Foods debuted plant-based nuggets last summer.
In September, the company – through its corporate venture subsidiary, Tyson Ventures – completed an investment in San Francisco-based New Wave Foods. The start-up is focused on producing plant-based shellfish that also has plans to have a shrimp alternative ready for foodservice operators this year. The move is part of Tyson Ventures’ strategy of identifying and investing in companies with disruptive products and breakthrough technologies.
Alongside Tyson Foods, other well-established meat industry players have begun to expand their offerings within the sustainable proteins market. Marfrig Global Foods, Brazil’s second largest food processor, entered into an agreement last year with US-based Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) for the production and sale of vegetable protein-based burger patties in Brazil.
Slaughter free meat of the future
In the future, most meat will not come from slaughtered animals. Instead, by 2040, the majority (60 percent) will be derived from cultured meat or plant-based alternatives that look and taste like meat, reveals a report from US global management consulting firm AT Kearney.
As the environmental impacts of conventional meat production, alongside ethical and welfare concerns linked to industrial farming, continue to influence consumers globally, the shift towards meat alternatives will overtake traditionally produced animal meat within 20 years – and novel vegan meat replacements will be essential in the transition phase, the report further highlights.
The plant-based revolution is not entirely without backlash, however. Last September, several European livestock organizations banded together under the European Livestock Voice in a bid to “restore balance and factual information” about the meat sector’s impact on health, environment and economy. Proponents of the counter-movement firmly contend that from a climate change perspective, the carbon footprint of our meals would not see a substantial difference with the removal of livestock.
By Benjamin Ferrer
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.