Future of Protein

Article

Future of Protein

Preparing for an uncertain future

The protein industry is on the brink of radical transformation. Current protein production is taking a heavy toll on our planet, yet demand for it will only keep growing. An increasing world population, rising affluence, urbanisation and changing eating habits all contribute to the need for systemic change.

Protein companies need to reconsider their strategy. But where to start and how to prepare for an uncertain future?

The protein challenge

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. However, the current production of protein is creating alarming environmental, food security and economic challenges. To keep up with the increasing demand, systemic change is needed. That’s why we help protein companies to equip for the future.

Now is the time to address some fundamental questions. What will your industry look like in 2040? And what high-impact initiatives can your company undertake today in order to pre-position yourself for success tomorrow? To help envision future scenarios and identify present-day high-impact opportunities, we have developed the zoom-out / zoom-in approach to strategy.

Future of Food scenarios

In close collaboration with the World Economic Forum, we interviewed stakeholders across the protein ecosystem to get a better understanding of what is happening today and what is likely to happen in the future. The expected and combined impact of changes in demand and market connectivity have been translated into four ‘future of protein’ scenarios towards 2040:

  • Unchecked consumption
  • Open-source sustainability
  • Survival of the richest
  • Local is the new global.

The whitepaper on the Future of Protein further elaborates on the four scenarios. Companies can plot themselves into each of them: how will they do, are they set up for success and which part of the companies are at risk? It may mean that, in order to survive in these scenarios, they’ll need to make big changes to the core business model or even pivot to a new one.

What needs to happen today?

After envisioning the future, it’s time to talk about what you can do today. What is needed in the short term to succeed in the long run? By now, all players in the protein industry are aware that change is needed. This results in a shifting playing field, in which both incumbents and new, disruptive players are trying to seize this opportunity.

To prepare for the future, protein start-ups and established protein companies are increasingly teaming up. Acquisitions, for instance, allow incumbents to profit from the innovative power of start-ups, whereas incumbents can enable start-ups to scale by helping them with funding, connections and access to distribution networks.

Technology as an accelerator

Within the shifting landscape of the protein industry, technology plays a crucial factor. Biotechnology, artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain can function as an accelerator towards a more sustainable future. 3 Major technologies could be especially relevant for the future of protein:

  • Biotechnology
  • Data analytics & artificial intelligence
  • Blockchain.

The whitepaper on Future of Protein further elaborates on the use of these technologies for protein companies.

Prepare your business for the future food system

The shift towards a sustainable future of protein has profound strategic, financial and technological implications for companies. Deloitte provides a range of methodologies to help companies design a strategy in an uncertain world. Combining project experience within the field of agriculture, livestock farming and food with strategic partnerships, we are shaping the future of food by helping companies prepare for what's next.

The whitepaper on the Future of Protein provides a glance of that. If you want to know more, or discuss what the food system transformation could entail for your company, feel free to contact us.

Published: November 2019

Future of Protein

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