Chef lecturer Daniel Portero explores London’s Plant-based Expo 2023

This blog entry was written by Les Roches Marbella’s chef lecturer, Daniel Portero.

The recent iteration of the Plant-based Expo unfolded in London, providing a captivating glimpse into the dynamic shifts and advancements within the plant-based industry. Exhibitors showcased a plethora of innovative ideas, diverse flavors, cutting-edge food technologies, and compelling proposals to entice prospective clients from across Europe.

Within designated areas, an array of dairy, meat, egg, and fish substitute products, alongside allergen-free ready-to-serve meals, garnered much of the attention. The world’s biggest investors have backed this burgeoning new industry. Financial backing, human resources, technological advancements, and robust marketing efforts collectively championed the cause of promoting novel nutritional alternatives.

Distinguished experts delivered insightful lectures on their accomplishments, future plans, and research endeavors aimed at refining ingredients, pioneering new techniques, and reshaping the food pyramid we’ve all come to know.

The Plant-based Expo centered around two pivotal branches: meat alternatives and the future of alternative protein markets.

Plant-based palates: An analytical exploration of the meat-alternative market’s potential trajectory

The imperative need for a comprehensive categorization system for animal protein substitute products, addressing a current void in both tangible and intangible market spaces.

Sustainability emerged as a central tenet of this burgeoning trend, with a keen focus on the flavor profiles of plant-based products. Remarkably, 75% of converts to plant-based diets were previously meat consumers rather than adherents of vegan or vegetarian lifestyles.

While the vegan and vegetarian market segment remains a relatively small slice of the overall food market, broader efforts and increased investments are essential for widespread adoption. Plant protein agriculture, viewed as a complement to traditional farming, is positioned as a cooperative force rather than a disruptive threat in Europe.

Representatives, such as those from Givaudan, expressed a commitment to collaboration with major distribution chains to meet consumer needs, conduct research, and facilitate continued growth.

The transition to plant-based diets is envisioned to integrate seamlessly into modern society through convenient recipes that maintain novelty and appeal. Technology serves as a linchpin for developing plant-based menus, with a crucial synergy with human creativity.

This trajectory is undeniably the future of food, advancing at a rapid pace. However, the key lies in maintaining an open mind and offering diverse food alternatives, requiring gastronomic professionals to reinvent themselves with new techniques and skills to navigate this evolving nutritional landscape.

Alternative Futures: Understanding the Future Landscape of Alternative Protein Markets

Anticipating the scenario for alternative protein markets in 2030 reveals a pivotal moment when new generations will wield substantial purchasing power. Diverse perspectives on consumption and spending patterns necessitate the development of a strategic plan, encompassing emerging trends, consumption projections, and technologies enhancing agricultural resilience.

Collaboration and co-creation on a global scale are imperative to establish an ecosystem propelling the industry forward. Key stakeholders, including universities, industries, researchers, ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, technology providers, and incubators, must contribute to regulating the production, distribution, and consumption of food on a comprehensive scale.

Hybrid dishes combining plant-based ingredients and organic products are poised to gain prominence in homes, emphasizing nutritional value, flavor, organoleptic properties, and new technologies. The objective is to elevate the taste experience and accommodate a broader population, reducing levels of sugar, salt, and fat in foods to enhance functionality within omnivorous and regular meat consumer markets.

Utilizing tools like Neuroscience for personalized consumer understanding, applications, and data trackers will expedite innovation and anticipate future challenges and expectations.

Artificial Intelligence and robotics will also play a crucial role in accelerating the development of ingredients for ready-to-eat products.