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Unilever today has announced a new annual global sales target of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, within the next five to seven years. The growth will be driven by increasing vegan alternatives from brands including Magnum, Streets, Continental, and Hellmann’s.
The target is part of Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ ambition, launched globally today with two key objectives: To help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain. Unilever has also committed to:
• Halve food waste in its direct global operations from factory to shelf by 2025 – five years earlier than previously committed, as part of the Champions 12.3 coalition target.
• Double the number of products delivering positive nutrition globally by 2025 – defined as products containing impactful amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins, or micronutrients like vitamins, zinc, iron and iodine.
• Continue lowering calorie, salt and sugar levels across products
o 85 per cent of Unilever’s global Foods portfolio will help consumers reduce their salt intake to no more than 5g per day, by 2022.
o 95 per cent of Unilever’s packaged ice cream will not contain more than 22g of total sugar, and 250 Kcal per serving, by 2025. This is in addition to the company’s children’s ice creams, which have been capped at 110 Kcal since 2014.
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Unilever has already made progress expanding its plant-based dairy alternatives and reducing food waste. In Australia and New Zealand specifically, Unilever has:
• Accelerated availability of plant-based and dairy alternatives: Including offering dairy-free options of Magnum, Weis and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams. Meanwhile, Unilever Food Solutions is empowering chefs to cook more plant-based meals using vegan products including Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, Knorr Intense Flavours and Knorr Tomato Powder.
• Significantly reduced food waste: Through longstanding programs to reduce waste to landfill across its Australian factories. Unilever has also donated almost 700,000 servings of food and beverage products including Continental, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton Ice Tea, Pure Leaf and T2 to Foodbank for distribution across Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, Unilever has positively contributed to Yume Food’s mission to achieve “a world without waste” by preventing over 4,000 kgs of surplus food from going to waste in the last year.
• Enhanced nutritional quality of food products and re-formulated ice-creams with less sugar and fewer calories: Continental’s Nutrish Soups range includes sources of protein or fibre and Future 50 ingredients such as amaranth, quinoa, hemp seed, sweet potato, lentils & sprouted peas. Weis have recently launched mini-sized bars giving Australians portion-controlled options.
“It is widely recognised that the current global food system is inequitable and inefficient. One billion people around the world are hungry while two billion are obese or overweight. One third of all food produced is thrown away. And animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels and a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss,” Hanneke Faber, president of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment Division, said.
Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics, Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of the EAT-Lancet report said: “The average person’s daily diet will need to change drastically during the next three decades to make sure everyone is fed without depleting the planet. By improving food production and food environments, transforming eating habits, and reducing food waste, we can begin to solve these problems. Unilever’s commitments are integral to helping people make changes to their diet, with healthier and more sustainable food products that are accessible and affordable for their consumers.”
Australian plant-based meat startup v2food will begin rolling out in more than 600 Woolworths stores from today. Based on the growing consumer appetite for plant-based alternatives, Woolworths will now make v2mince and v2burgers available to consumers in the majority of its stores.
Founded as a collaboration between CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods, v2food’s mission is to create great-tasting plant-based meat for Aussie consumers that will help more sustainably satisfy the planet’s demand for meat.
v2food first created the Hungry Jack’s Rebel Whopper in October 2019. Since then, the startup has created v2burgers and v2mince, which recently launched through Marley Spoon and Dinnerly as well as QSR outlets such as Soul Burger. In August 2020 the products rolled out in 61 Drakes supermarkets in South Australia and Queensland. The deal with Woolworths represents a significant step towards v2’s ambitions to make plant-based meat a regular item on Aussie dinner tables.
One of the biggest barriers facing plant-based meat has been the premium price attached to many of the products currently in the market. Understanding that there will not be mass acceptance of meat alternatives until value is comparable to their animal equivalents, v2food has launched their products with a retail price of $8.50 for 500g of v2mince and $9 for a four-pack of v2burgers.
“We’re continuing to see growth in the plant-based category, particularly in recent months as customers cook more at home and are looking for variety in their diet. We’re excited to offer v2food within our broader range, giving Aussies a great tasting and affordable plant-based option.” said Woolworths plant-based category manager Mauro Pisani.
“With the world’s population set to reach 10 billion people by 2050, demand for meat is growing exponentially. This is driving some of the greatest health, food security and sustainability challenges facing our world. But people’s habits are only going to change if they have alternatives that taste just as good as the real thing, at a fair price and which can be easily replicated in their favourite meals,” said Nick Hazell, v2food founder and CEO.
“With Woolworths ranging v2 in over 600 of their stores, we now have a real chance to show Aussies how good plant-based meat can taste, helping them make food choices that are better for the planet. I am incredibly proud of the scale that v2food has been able to achieve in such a short space of time, which is testament to the strength of our product. This is an exciting milestone for both us, and for Aussie dinners.”
Recent research from Food Frontier found that six in ten Aussies and Kiwis have tried or want to try plant-based meat (equivalent to 15 million Australians), whilst a YouGov survey, commissioned by v2food, found that 49 percent of Australians want to reduce their meat intake.
At the same time, a new study by Food Frontier and co-authored by Accredited Practising Dietitian Teri Lichtenstein shows that plant-based meat can offer consumers a healthier alternative to similar conventional meat products.
Néstle has announced a collaboration with Burcon and Merit, two key players in the development and production of high-quality plant proteins. This partnership will enable Nestlé to further accelerate the development of nutritious and great-tasting, plant-based meat and dairy alternatives with a favorable environmental footprint.
The partnership combines Nestlé’s expertise in the development, production and commercialization of plant-based foods and beverages with Burcon’s proprietary plant protein extraction and purification technology, while leveraging Merit’s state-of-the-art plant protein production capabilities.
“Developing nutritious and great-tasting plant-based meat and dairy alternatives requires access to tasty, nutritious and sustainable raw materials as well as proprietary manufacturing technology,” says Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer. “The partnership with Burcon and Merit will give us access to unique expertise and a new range of high-quality ingredients for plant-based food and beverages.”
Globally, Nestlé has around 300 R&D scientists, engineers and product developers located in 8 R&D centers that are dedicated to the research and development of plant-based products. To complement its internal capabilities, the company also strategically collaborates with researchers, suppliers, start-ups and various other innovation partners.
Nestlé’s plant-based product range includes pea, soy- and wheat-based burger patties, sausages, mince meat, chicken filets and various prepared dishes. The company also developed pea and oat-based dairy alternatives, almond-, coconut- and oat-based creamers, plant-based coffee mixes as well as a range of non-dairy ice creams. It also recently announced its plans to launch vegan alternatives to cheese and bacon, designed to complement its existing plant-based burger patties.
Burcon Nutrascience is a global technology company with a portfolio of patents related to composition, application, and manufacturing of novel plant-based proteins derived from pea, canola, soy, hemp, sunflower seed and various other crops.