Projected to represent at least 11% of all meat, seafood, eggs and dairy consumed globally by 2035, alternative proteins will save three times the emissions for each dollar invested compared with the next-best tool in the box—decarbonizing cement—according to a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the impact investor Blue Horizon.
The report, “The Untapped Climate Opportunity in Alternative Proteins,” will present findings from a survey of more than 3,700 consumers in seven countries (China, France, Germany, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and the U.S.) regarding their reasons for trying alternative proteins and the inhibitors that keep them from buying even more. Three-quarters of survey respondents cited a healthier diet as their primary motivator for consuming alternative proteins, while more than 30% of consumers would fully switch their diets to alternative proteins if they believed doing so would have a major positive impact on climate.
Across all markets surveyed, consumers view alternative proteins positively: 76% are aware of the category, and approximately 9 out of 10 said they like at least some of the alternative-protein products they have tried. While consumers in China and Germany are the most willing to pay close to parity with protein equivalents, no consumer in any region is willing to pay a premium for alternative proteins that match meat for taste, texture and nutrition—a price premium requires value add.
“Nearly one in three people across the world are plagued by food insecurity. Coupled with the impact of the continued geopolitical crises on the supply chain and food prices, there is immense pressure on the global food system,” says Ben Morach, a BCG managing director and partner. “Pivoting away from animal-based proteins will lead to shorter, more resilient, and potentially more local supply chains. Widespread adoption of alternative proteins can remove the risk of supply chain disruptions and play a critical role tackling climate change, with consumers playing a key part in propelling this transition.”
Bjoern Witte, CEO of Blue Horizon, adds, “The products consumers are seeing on the shelves today will be followed by a wave of cleaner, healthier, and tastier alternative proteins, as technology allows for increasing innovation. We’ve seen the fast-paced development of these technologies in our own portfolio as well as the wider food-tech industry, leading to an overall better consumer product range. This is great news for today's consumers, but we’re just at the beginning, really. Future generations will benefit greatly from the demonstrable impact this will have on the environment, as shown through our analysis of climate data. This is the second report from BCG and Blue Horizon confirming that protein transformation is the most capital-efficient way to avoid emissions and deliver Impact of Capital Employed (IoCE). If we reach 11% market penetration by 2035, which is our goal, we could save more carbon emissions than decarbonizing 95% of the aviation sector. The positive impact is absolutely massive, and secular drivers have never been stronger—the time to invest is now.”
“Future generations will benefit greatly from the demonstrable impact this will have on the environment, as shown through our analysis of climate data.” —Ben Morach, a BCG managing director and partner