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Coalition set to transform the future of protein

2 March 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White

Protein is an essential part of the human diet, but the way we produce and consume it today places an increasingly heavy strain on land and sea resources.

protein challenge

To tackle these challenges head-on, leading international businesses and NGOs have formed The Protein Challenge 2040, the world’s first collaboration across the protein system that aims to address the question: “How can we feed nine billion people enough protein in a way that is healthy, affordable and good for the environment?”

Facilitated by Forum for the Future, The Protein Challenge 2040 coalition is founded by leading NGOs, retailers Target and Waitrose, leading dairy nutrition firm Volac, taste and flavour experts Firmenich, as well as food manufacturers The Hershey Company and Quorn. It is the first partnership that brings together representatives from animal, plant and alternative protein industries to understand the protein system’s challenges, identify a common way forward and come up with new solutions together.

Through in-depth research and work with food, nutrition, health and technology experts across the world, the coalition has mapped the interrelationships within the entire protein system for the first time. It has pinpointed six areas for innovation, which the group will take immediate action on to meet future demand sustainably. These include:

Areas for immediate actionAreas being scoped for action
Increasing the proportion of plant-based protein consumption with consumersDeveloping indigenous plants as protein sources for local communities
Scaling up sustainable feed innovation to meet demand for animal proteinScaling up sustainable aquaculture for food and animal feed
Closing the protein nutrient loop (Tackling the loss and waste of protein across the system)Restoring soil health

The coalition is now looking for additional partners with resources, expertise and drive to take action in these areas together.

Andy Richardson, Head of Corporate Affairs at Volac, said: “Protein is essential for human health, but the current state of how it’s produced and consumed is just not sustainable in the long term. The Protein Challenge 2040 is a unique and exciting opportunity for stakeholders across the protein system to address its challenges together and scale up interventions, best practice and innovation.”

The production of protein is associated with significant social, environmental and economic impacts. Consumption is unbalanced: an estimated 2 billion people suffer from undernutrition which results in major health risks, whilst in the developed world, protein consumption is often more than that required for optimal health. Find out more in The Protein Challenge 2040 summary report.

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