New Protein Industry Alliance looks to boost healthy vegetarian alternatives
Shanghai has set up an industry alliance, comprising food and agricultural giants, as well as catering service providers, to seek better synergies in the plant protein sector.
The New Protein Industry Alliance will serve as an exchange platform for raw material providers and broaden the healthy and alternative protein dietary portfolio, officials said.
It has brought together Bright Food Group's incubation and innovation platform Foodtech Hub, plant-based grocery and canteen operator Green Common, the Healthy Food and Beverage Commission at the Shanghai Restaurants Cuisine Association and the Business Intelligence Center of Shanghai.
Other participants include food industry leaders, research institutions, new protein technology developers as well as local vegetarian food vendors and canteens.
A latest white paper by the alliance estimates a 2.7 percent annual increase in protein consumption volume in China in the coming years and the total market size could reach 75 to 80 billion kilograms by 2030.
Health and nutritional benefits are the top reasons for shoppers to choose alternative protein, and their willingness to try plant-based protein dishes and cooking materials has skyrocketed in recent year, experts noted.
Shanghai-headquartered local and foreign food vendors and consumer goods companies have launched active initiatives to cater to the new consumption trend.
Unilever's alternative protein "The Vegetarian Butcher" has unveiled six plant-based protein products for local caterers which are better suited to Chinese cuisine and dining tastes.
Organic and functional food vendor Moore Garden has partnered with Bright Food Group to start construction of a factory for plant-based protein in Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan Province, aiming to build an innovative industrial base.
Jiang Liangzhou, a professor at the Food Science College of NorthEast Agricultural University, pointed out that it's crucial for plant-based protein products to enhance technology and offer suitable flavors and texture.