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Webrain Reports Archive

#225: Alternative Food Sources

Past Webrain reports have discussed sustainability, alternative food options, and Agri-Tech. These are important because of the shrinking availability of arable land, greenhouse gas trends, and the burgeoning global population. The food supply chain has further been shocked by complications from war and the pandemic. Personal preferences have also affected the demand for slaughtered animals as food and diets for improved health.

 

These concerns are sending numerous startup businesses in search of solutions that avoid further stressing the planet while filling an additional one or two billion stomachs. In this report, Webrain focuses on three critical nutrient categories within the realm of alternative food sources – proteins, carbohydrates (sugars), and fat – as well as a new trend of upcycling food product.

 

The proteins include meat substitutes, most often plant-based. The proteins include meat substitutes, most often plant-based. New plant-based options include versatile proteins created from fungi and algae and the next iterations of meats grown from animal cells. Insects provide another viable protein source, providing western cultures can overcome aversion to having creepy-crawlies as food. Another segment of companies is growing animal fats designed to make alternative proteins taste even more like the meats they’re imitating. The new sugar substitutes revolve around both sustainability and health concerns. Companies are seeking to either reduce the amount of land used for growing sugar by making products that are sweeter than traditionally consumed sugar, or alternatives that make sweet foods less caloric for health reasons. Additionally, there are numerous companies looking for ways to upcycle previously discard food scraps into desirable new products. As the planet and its inhabitants move further into this uncertain century, Webrain’s examination of the technologies being brought to bear by a wide range of little-known competitors identifies critical trends for the future of human sustenance.