As a result of the pandemic, a lot of us are reevaluating our health habits, most notably our dietary habits. That said, many consumers have turned towards plant-based protein alternatives in an effort to better protect their health.
The African continent is just catching up when it comes to plant-based protein foods. One brand that’s made it a mission to provide Sub-Saharan Africa with the tastiest and most exciting plant-based food brands is Infinite Foods. That said, Longevity LIVE spoke to the founder and CEO of Infinite Foods, Michelle Adelman on the Nielsen Network for the Business of Health series. The interview touched on how the brand is set to transform food security and agriculture. Additionally, they also discussed our access to plant-based proteins now and in the future.
Plant-Based Protein and Longevity
According to the investment group UBS, the plant-based meat market is expected to be valued at around US$50 billion by 2025 (1). The plant-based protein as a food category is clearly growing at a massive rate. This can be credited to the demand for healthy and sustinable food.
Michelle Adelman Speaks
Infinite Foods is a go-to market platform for the leading plant-based food brands to reach African consumers faster and with lower risk. These brands include Beyond Meat, Nature & Moi, Oatley and Miyoko’s Creamery. Infinite Foods is also incubating and bringing South African and African-based brands to the market as well.
According to Adelman, Infinite Foods aims to help the African continent adopt a healthy, nutritious and sustainable food system. Their strategy and goals are very much governed by long term mission. Their aim is to use the plant-based trend to help transform our health, our agricultural system and to protect the planet.
The power of taste
Adelman points out that when looking for brands, their number one criteria is that the foods always have to taste great.
“If we’re going to change people’s eating habits, we have to give them an alternative that really tastes amazing and frankly is cool.“
Plant-based farming in Africa
In Africa, we are yet to tangibly feel the negative health and environmental impact of widescale factory farming. It has already taken over the United States of America and other first world countries. That said, it will soon come to Africa and Asia. Therefore, it is important to manage the need for animal-based protein to ensure sustainability in the future.
Animal meat consumption
Africans and particularly South Africans consume far too much animal protein. In terms of meat consumption comparisons, South Africa is around 50kgs per person per annum. This is 50% higher than the global average of 34 kgs per person per year.
Adelman believes there’s still room to “head off” the natural trend of developing countries. She says as people move into the middle class to consume more meat, they redirect people to plant-based sources instead of animal-based sources. Africa, broadly, presents a real opportunity to improve protein availability and accessibility by providing healthy, affordable, and ideally shelf-stable plant-based meat alternatives.
Moving into the factory farming model results in a high use of natural resources. For instance, a cow is almost a bad factory. It takes around 7 kg of plant inputs, and it consumes a huge amount of water. What’s more, it also emits a huge amount of gas. All of this is done in an effort to produce 1 kg of meat protein.
“The most efficient way would be for us to convert plant calories directly into human calories, and bypass the animals,” suggests Adelman.
Red meat vs plant-based protein sources
A recent study from Stanford University made a direct comparison between people who ate beyond burgers and people who chose to consume red meat, making sure to keep all other external factors similar.
According to the results, there are no adverse effects from eating plant-based meats. In fact, researchers noted that doing so can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, more than 75% of people on the African continent are lactose intolerant. So, consuming animal-based dairy products can cause health issues. Therefore there is now an opportunity for a plant-forward way of eating. This method is healthier for us, protects the environment and empowers farmers.
Infinite Foods recently appointed a powerful African-focused advisory board to help catalyze growth in Africa.
Watch The Video
The video interview contains the full dialogue of this interview and you can watch it below.