A seismic shift is happening within the protein market, and we’re getting to witness it in real time.
A coalition of investors representing $1.25 trillion in assets are urging companies like Nestlé and General Mills to respond to the risks associated with factory farming by looking instead to plant proteins.
This action was prompted by an Oxford University report which calculated that reducing meat consumption could save a staggering $1.5 trillion in costs related to climate change and healthcare by 2050. To address this, plant proteins have been tapped as a more long-term solution for feeding the population without inciting an environmental meltdown.
This coalition is going straight for the big guns in food like Kraft Heinz, Walmart, Unilever, and Tesco—comprising 16 multinational food companies in total. The investors were brought together by the FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) Initiative, in partnership with ShareAction, an organization focused on responsible investment.
Even before this bold statement, major food companies have been responding to the changing times. General Mills is already invested in Beyond Meat and Kite Hill, and Danone acquired WhiteWave for $10.4 billion earlier in 2016.
Still, these companies chiefly rely on fundamentally unstable, inefficient, and environmentally harmful food production systems based on conventional animal agriculture. As the investors have made clear, this is hardly savvy from an economic perspective, even if companies choose to ignore the other unsavory aspects.
“The world’s over-reliance on factory farmed livestock to feed the growing global demand for protein is a recipe for financial, social, and environmental crisis,” said Jeremy Coller, founder of the FAIRR initiative and chief investment officer at Coller Capital. “Investors want to know major food companies have a strategy to avoid this protein bubble and to profit from a plant-based protein market set to grow by 8.4 percent annually over the next five years.”
With this push from investors, sustainable protein production is finally moving from sideshow to main stage. For more information on building a resilient protein supply chain, check out this report.
And to learn more about how GFI accelerates this transition toward sustainable food, visit our website.