"Australia has the potential to become a plant-protein powerhouse." - NSW Farmers' CEO
Australian farmers are embracing the growing trend towards plant-based alternative foods. After years of opposition and ridicule, NSW Farmers and the National Farmers' Federation have realised that the world is changing rapidly and they can no longer see plant-based products as a threat.
NSW Farmers' chief executive officer Peter Arkle speaks of needing to "ensure that our domestic producers are able to diversify and take advantage of new market opportunities, and that policy and regulatory settings are in place to encourage production and manufacturing in Australia."
"Australia has the potential to become a plant-protein powerhouse, by ramping up production to supply plant proteins into key export markets," he says.
Sam Lawrence from Food Frontier says that "the alternative protein sector continues to build considerable momentum locally and globally" and that it creates opportunities for Australian farmers.
The Australian plant-based meat alternative consumer market is forecast to grow to $3 billion by 2030.
"This presents a lucrative opportunity for Australian farmers to supply a new high-value market, both domestically and internationally, as demand for Australian grown plant-protein increases," Mr Lawrence says.
Mr Lawrence calls on governments to assist projects to grow the plant-based alternative sector. "The economic case is clear and compelling," he says. The plant-based alternative industry can deliver both jobs and growth in regional areas, and generate new export opportunities.
National Farmers' Federation Chief Executive Tony Mahar stresses the importance of Australia's agriculture industry being 'on the front foot' and ready to realise the opportunities presented by the growth of the plant-based alternative market.
This new support for plant-based alternatives shows that animal meat is no longer considered the only source of protein. Once this knowledge becomes widespread in the community, the perceived barriers to people becoming vegan will be lowered considerably.
When meat-eaters become aware of the horrific suffering inherent in the animal agriculture industry, they will more readily swap to plant-based alternatives. They will no longer be held back by the question "Where will I get my protein?". As plant-based alternatives become more available, the excuse that it is 'inconvenient' to eat vegan will no longer be valid.
Although the Australian animal agriculture industry says they do not see plant-based alternatives as a threat, their support for the new industry may be one big step towards the abolition of animal exploitation in Australia.