Protein: the growing challenge

22 Dec 2014

During the recent Hi Europe & Ni Conference 2014 in Amsterdam, Suzane Leser, Volac’s Head of Nutrition, posed the question: “How can we reach a sustainable supply and demand of protein that meets growing health needs?” The theme of the session presented by Leser addressed the challenges being faced by the global food industry amid […]

Protein: the growing challenge

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-protein-foods-image16949433During the recent Hi Europe & Ni Conference 2014 in Amsterdam, Suzane Leser, Volac’s Head of Nutrition, posed the question: “How can we reach a sustainable supply and demand of protein that meets growing health needs?”

The theme of the session presented by Leser addressed the challenges being faced by the global food industry amid the rising demand for protein in a market that is experiencing exponential growth.

Leser expands on the topic of ‘The Protein Challenge’, a project that Volac is launching in partnership with Forum for the Future and other leading stakeholders: “Today, we have two conflicting messages. Protein requirements for optimal health are likely to be higher than basic needs, but increasing everyday protein intake is considered to be unsustainable.

Everybody wants to participate in the sustainable diets debate, which is good. But the lack of facts has resulted in conflicting messages that seem to be getting the protein industry more divided than finding common ground.

The impact to our customers is a volatile market, consumer confusion and higher risks to business.”

Leser emphasises: “We need to change the tone of our conversations from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protein sources towards sustainable supply and demand of protein. By working together we will have a greater potential to meet the growing need for protein in the mainstream.”

The futures thinking project aims to build a consortium of leading food and agriculture businesses across the protein industry to develop a pragmatic view on the future supply and demand of protein in response to health and sustainability drivers.

Leser explains: “We want to create a neutral space to address future trends, share a vision and create action. The growing recognition of the role of protein in health is the most important factor driving protein demand in our market. In developed countries, the per capita increase in daily protein demand is expected to grow by 15%. In addition, a shift in diets will come mainly from these countries.”

The main outcomes of ‘The Protein Challenge’ will be to develop possible future scenarios and to propose areas for collaborative action. The methods will involve conducting an in-depth research of the supply chain risks, and the changing dynamics of a high demand market. The results will be used to inform commercial decisions, influence Governments’ approach to the role of protein in a sustainable diet and determine the call to action for businesses, NGOs and Government to address the barriers of reaching a sustainable supply and demand of protein.

Leser continues: “We have already seen a significant amount of work done across the industry to address sustainability. What we must do now is combine all the good initiatives and work together to achieve the best environment for proteins.”

Leser’s presentation at the HiE conference gave an insightful overview of the cornerstones in science and nutrition over the past five years that today strengthen the growing demand for protein in health . She highlighted the market drivers supporting the growth of high protein products, and demonstrated how science and public initiatives on sustainable diets are developing fast, and how these may impact the protein market dynamics in the short- to medium-term.

Leser concludes: “Volac would like to invite like-minded businesses and organisations to join together to act on the protein challenge as a single protein industry.”