Plant proteins

Plant protein Agency Consulting firm Experts Specialists Consultancy

The plant protein market is experiencing strong growth, notably driven by research in meat substitutes and by the development of new consumption patterns: veganism or flexitarianism, for example. Alcimed’s Agrifood team supports its clients in the analysis of the plant protein and alternative protein market, in the exploration of technologies and applications associated with these proteins, in the development of plant-based products, and other innovation and new business development projects!

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    The challenges related to plant proteins and meat substitutes

    The plant protein market will continue to grow in years to come. However, this will require a number of challenges to be met in animal feed as well as in human food.

    The challenges facing plant proteins in animal feed

    In the animal sector, the main challenge with plant proteins lies in improving the protein autonomy of livestock farming. World livestock farming – especially in Europe – is highly dependent on the import of protein-rich materials from a few producing countries, such as soybean meal produced in Brazil. There are two major problems with such dependence: food sovereignty and, above all, the environmental impact of imported proteins, which contribute to deforestation, forest degradation, and the destruction of natural ecosystems in some producing countries.

    In France, for example, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food announced in 2020 a “plant protein plan” of 100 million euros, which mainly aims to respond to this challenge of protein independence.

    The challenges facing plant proteins in human food

    In human food, the challenges are more diverse:

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      How we support you in your projects related to plant proteins or meat substitutes

      Alcimed works with many industrial players who produce raw plant proteins or who use them in their formulations. The proximity with these players allows us to stay up-to-date with industrial challenges, technological advances, and consumer trends in this market.

      We support our clients in different types of projects:

      • Market analysis of meat substitute protein sources: to understand, for example, the structure of the value chain, the competitive environment, the existing offer, the expectations of the demand, or to have a vision of volumes, the prices, and their dynamics;
      • Exploration of technologies and applications associated with these proteins, to choose the most relevant industrial options from a technico-economic point of view or to find new markets for existing products or those under development;
      • Design and development of new plant-based product offers to better meet the expectations of their clients (manufacturers or end consumers);
      • Support for the structuring of plant protein sectors with public or semi-public players;
      • And any other innovation and business project development project.

      Our team works with producers of plant proteins (Bunge, Cargill, DSM, Dupont, Roquette, the Soufflet Group, etc.), the users of these proteins in human food and animal feed (the CCPA Group, Danone, Dianapetfood, Mars, Neovia, Nestlé, Purina, Savencia, etc.), teams of start-ups in the field, and public or semi-public players such as competitiveness clusters.

      Examples of recent projects carried out for our clients in plant-based proteins

      • Technological scouting and study of the "processability" of plant proteins for applications in infant formulas

        Alcimed has supported a B2C industrial player specializing in infant nutrition in the identification and evaluation of technologies to ensure the food safety of plant protein isolates or concentrates, and to dissolve and stabilize them in a matrix with a view to the formulation of finished products.

        Our team initially carried out a state of the art of the available technologies and their level of maturity via an in-depth investigation of the scientific literature and patent databases. We continued our investigation to analyze the technical feasibility of these processes within the framework of a production process for infant products.

        This project enabled our client to select 2 promising technologies for the development of its infant formulations.

      • Market study and wargame exercise to understand the impact of the arrival of a new player on the business of a leader in alternative plant-based milks

        Our client, a leading industrial player in the alternative plant-based milks segment, asked our team to assess the level of risk on its activities following the entry into the competition of a new player in the field of plant-based alternatives to dairy products.

        We conducted an in-depth investigation of the UHT ultrafiltered or sterilized plant-based milks market in several countries: France, Spain, Italy, and China. Understanding the dynamics of each market and the forces involved then enabled us to organize a wargame with our client’s teams to project competing strategies in each market and, ultimately, to build a strategy and a priority action plan for each team (marketing, sales, regulatory affairs, R&D, etc.) to be implemented over the next 6 months.

      • Support for the creation of an R&D pipeline of enzymes intended for “meat & milk substitutes” applications to develop new offers

        An international leader in the segment of enzymes for the agrifood industry asked our team to help develop its product offering for “plant substitutes to meat” applications (vegetable steaks, vegetable nuggets, etc.) and “plant-based milks” (soy milk, almond milk, etc.).

        The first step of our project consisted in carrying out a field investigation aimed at understanding the needs and expectations of B2C players toward ingredient manufacturers for the years to come, thus allowing us to categorize avenues for new offers for our client into 4 main themes: improve the nutritional profile, improve taste & texture, offer “clean label” products, and optimize production costs.

        We then transposed these needs into specifications for our client’s R&D team to plan the development of enzymatic solutions adapted to the challenges of current or future market players. Our team finally translated these specifications into a list of R&D projects, prioritized according to the capabilities and challenges of our client.

      • Prospective study of possible strategic avenues to disrupt the future of the protein market

        Alcimed has helped a major B2B player in the agrifood industry to build an exhaustive panorama of “proteins of the future” and their value chains in order to identify strategic avenues for development in this market. While our client was closely monitoring trends related to the boom in plant proteins, it wanted to have a long-term view on alternative protein sources – from plants, but also from insects, yeasts, bacteria, etc. – to identify opportunities for strategic development. Our project also aimed to understand the degree of integration of our client in these new value chains: buyer, producer, or strategic partner.

        After having identified and evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of alternative protein sources considered to be promising in the long term, our team reconstituted the value chains (inputs, process, products, applications & markets) of around thirty proteins (plant proteins, insect proteins, proteins from animal by-products, and proteins from microorganisms and/or bioprocesses).

        The results of our project have made it possible for us to define or to project our client’s position on these alternative protein sources so as to maintain a competitive advantage today and in the long term.

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