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The race for alternatives to animal-based protein: How Israel can lead the race the food of the future

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Israeli companies and start-ups are already developing all sorts of alternatives: including hummus and quinoa protein, 3D-printed hamburgers, meat substitutes produced from only seven components, groundbreaking vegan yogurt and a multi-purpose egg substitute.

NIR GOLDSTEIN: ‘The vegan idea of avoiding consumption of animals and their products has existed in the world for over 1,000 years. Israel, you’ll be surprised to learn, is considered the world’s vegan capital, with some 5% of the general population vegans and another about 8% vegetarians. The reasons for the shift to veganism are varied and include other considerations beyond concern for animals.

It begins with greenhouse gas emissions at a rate of over 15% (more than all the motorized vehicles in the world together), via the realization that this is a terrible waste of assets – to produce a single calorie of beef necessitates 20 calories, an equation that cannot be sustained in a world of 10 billion people – to the economic advantages of producing meat-based protein by reducing the use of antibiotics in the meat industry and especially the chicken.

Nonetheless, meat consumption, both in Israel and worldwide, is increasing. The world today consumes six times more meat than during the 1960s. And Israel, despite all its vegans, is the world leader in chicken consumption per person. So how can the consumption of animal-based food be reduced? The short answer: technology. The slightly longer answer: by finding new ways to produce meat substitutes that are tasty, juicy and affordable…

The food industry is one of the biggest in the world, reaching over $10 trillion (!) a year. Of this, the meat market alone is worth some $2t. The business opportunity is clear to all. Conservative estimates are for the meat-substitutes market to grow to over $140b. in the coming decade. Israel, believe it or not, is today considered a leader in this field… A billion dollars are invested every year in the race to produce alternative protein to animal-based products, and Israel, which in the past decade has become a world leader in the “Foodtech” field, has the potential to lead this race…

A long list of groundbreaking Israeli companies and start-ups are already developing all sorts of alternatives: including hummus and quinoa protein, 3D-printed hamburgers, meat substitutes produced from only seven components, groundbreaking vegan yogurt and a multi-purpose egg substitute. The Israeli Foodtech world already encompasses over 300 start-ups, and new initiatives are opened almost every week. Giant companies like Tnuva and Strauss have already been in the field for a long time, with vegetarian production lines and technological incubators, and even Israel Chemicals recently entered this world with a NIS 70 million investment in research and development of the capability to produce meat substitutes’SOURCE…

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