Food Frontier, an independent think tank dedicated to alternative proteins, has announced that it will feature George Peppou, the CEO and co-founder of Vow Group Pty. Ltd., and Dr. Nick Fletcher, Principal Toxicologist and Risk Assessor at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), as key speakers at its upcoming AltProteins 23 conference, scheduled for October 4 in Melbourne. This conference will serve as a crucial platform for dialogue during a pivotal juncture for the cultivated meat industry in the region. Vow Group’s application to become the first company to sell cultivated meat in Australia and New Zealand is currently under review, and public consultation is anticipated to commence prior to the conference.
The pivotal moment for cultivated meat
With Vow’s application to sell its quail product as a food ingredient submitted in February 2023, FSANZ faces the challenge of maintaining food safety standards while supporting business growth. Additionally, this decision could potentially open up an entirely new consumer market within the region. As part of the review process, it is expected that the public consultation stage will begin by the end of September 2023.
Dr. Simon Eassom, Executive Director of Food Frontier, expresses optimism regarding public support for the application:
“It’s incredibly exciting to consider that an Australian food tech company could be among the first to offer this protein option to our tables. Alternative proteins can play a role in addressing Australia’s declining export diversity, a concern highlighted by Harvard Kennedy School’s recent ranking of Australia at 93rd globally due to heavy reliance on raw material exports.”
He emphasizes that Vow’s innovative approach and technical leadership in the food industry could position Australia on the global stage as a pioneer in developing solutions for the world’s increasing protein demands.
Global context and regional potential
Internationally, Singapore approved cultivated meat in 2020, followed by the United States in June 2023. The company responsible for obtaining the inaugural US approval, behind GOOD Meat, will also be presenting at AltProteins 23.
Another significant theme of AltProteins 23 is the substantial potential for Australia and New Zealand to become leaders in sustainable food production worldwide. Australia is already home to 25 plant-based meat companies and 14 startups in the broader cellular agriculture sector, including two firms in the region specifically focusing on cultivated meat.
To establish regional dominance in the alternative proteins industry, increased investment, technological innovation, and aligned government oversight are imperative. These factors, combined with substantial scaling up of new protein production methods, will be essential in driving manufacturing capacity while seizing new opportunities within the field.
About Food Frontier
Food Frontier is an independent think tank dedicated to advancing alternative proteins in Australia and New Zealand. Supported by grants and donations, their work aims to expand the protein supply in the region by introducing sustainable and nutritious options that benefit businesses, farmers, and consumers alike.