2024 Conference Session

sustainable food conference with crowd seated looking at a speaker

About the Session

While the alternative protein sector boasts significant potential and exciting developments, there are also some critical challenges that remain largely undiscussed. This panel will confront and discuss those challenges head-on: accessibility and affordability; sensory parity; nutritional equivalence; sustainability claims; regulatory landscapes; ethical considerations; industry consolidation; consumer skepticism and misinformation. Despite advancements, foods derived from alternative protein sources often remain more expensive than their animal-based counterparts, hindering wider adoption, especially for low-income consumers. While progress is being made, replicating the full sensory experience of meat (taste, texture, mouthfeel) also remains a challenge, which is affecting consumer acceptance and hinder widespread switch-over. Ensuring plant-based protein sources provide all essential amino acids and nutrients readily available in animal proteins is vital, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children and pregnant women. We must stop with the claims and scrutinize the true environmental impact of large-scale production of certain alternative proteins, considering factors like water usage, land required, and processing methods. The evolving regulatory landscape for alternative proteins across different countries also creates complexities and uncertainties for manufacturers and distributors. And while animal welfare drives many towards alternative proteins, concerns exist about potential impacts on the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities reliant on animal agriculture. Can they co-exist? The increasing presence of large food companies entering the alternative protein space also raises concerns about potential monopolies and limited competition, impacting innovation and affordability. Addressing misconceptions and providing transparent information about the production, safety, and nutritional value of alternative proteins remains crucial for building trust and acceptance. By acknowledging and addressing these 'elephants in the room', the alternative protein sector can ensure its growth is truly sustainable, ethical, and accessible to all, paving the way for a transformed food system.

Register Now

The Future of Protein Production Chicago

The Meeting Place for Sustainable Protein Production in the Americas

April 29th & 30th 2025