To better understand the obstacles, the levy board is undertaking a new project designed to help beef and sheep farmers identify threats and opportunities within the industry, and provide answers as to how to approach them.
“We want to distinguish hype from reality and have an objective view on what’s happening in the alternative protein space,” commented Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
“That will mean better understanding technologies, business models and how quickly advancements are being made that could impact the New Zealand red meat sector.”
Impact to beloved burgers
According to McIvor, alternative proteins are being positioned as a premium product. However, the temperamental nature of the market could mean this changes tomorrow.
He explained: “For example, if the price to produce these foods comes down in the future it could have an impact on the likes of hamburger meat. That could be a risk for the sector, given a large percentage of New Zealand processing beef currently goes to quick-service restaurants.”
The project will also discuss what the consumer thinks of alternative proteins and whether or not they are accepted into their diets. “We want to understand their perceptions, choices and the trade-offs they might make in the future,” explained McIvor.
To understand the category on an international level, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is approaching organisations that deal with the marketplace in regions such as Silicon Valley and the Netherlands, where protein alternative technologies and investments into them are being heavily focused on. The levy board is aiming to identify its project partners by the end of this month.