Australia invests US$279m to quadruple animal-free protein manufacturing capability 

AUSTRALIA – Australia is set to become a plant protein manufacturing power house following a new plan to invest AU$378 million (US$279m) into new facilities in South Australia (SA).  

The project which falls under an AU$1.3 billion (US$960m )Modern Manufacturing Initiative is being led by local animal free protein manufacturer Australian Plant Proteins (APP).  

The Morrison Government will provide AU$113 million (US$83.37m) with a further AU$65 million (US$47.95m) coming from the state government.  

The remaining finance will be provided by a coalition of APP, Thomas Foods International, a major red meat producer, and the Australian Milling Hub.  

The new joint venture is being cited as the largest to date for Australia’s burgeoning plant-based protein sector, which is anticipated to grow into one of the state’s biggest exporters. 

 “This could rival seafood, it could rival wine out of South Australia, it is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world at the moment and SA is getting in on the ground floor,” Prime Minister Steven Marshall said in a statement.  

The three new manufacturing plants will be split across the state, with two in regional SA and another in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.  

The facilities will be supplied by domestic farmers and will produce a litany of finished products including vegan meats, plant protein powders and bars, and animal-free dairy protein drinks. 

Initially marketed to a domestic consumer base, international expansion will follow soon after, to meet the growing demand for vegan protein-rich foodstuffs.  

The U.S, Southeast Asia and Europe are expected to be driving markets, with predictions of AU$4 billion (US$2.95m) in exports being slated as coming to fruition by 2032. 

The project is predicted to create more than 8,500 full-time permanent jobs, once all three plants are operational and the wider domestic supply chain is established.

The deadline for completion has been set for 2034, though economic contribution is expected to start much sooner.  

60 percent increase in funding into the global alternative protein sector 

The investment follows a recent report showing that there was a 60 percent increase in funding into the global alternative protein sector in 2021, with fermentation and cultivated projects claiming more funding than ever before. 

The report by non-profit think tank the Good Food Institute (GFI) noted that overall, the alt protein companies raised US$5 billion worldwide, with US$312 million invested in Asia Pacific. 

New data highlights Asia Pacific as a key region in the growing alternative protein industry, taking a 6 percent share of all investments made. 

This is, in part, thanks to significant funding rounds from Singapore’s Next Gen Foods and Australia’s v2food which together accounted for US$140 million of 2021’s sector investments. 

Interestingly, North America’s share of global tickets has shrunk by a third while Europe accounted for 10% of total funding, down from 16% in 2020 

The report noted that other regions have also started to develop homegrown alt protein markets including the Middle East (10%) and Latin America (6%). 

2022 has started on a high note with Next Gen Foods’s historic record-breaking Series A raise and China’s Starfield Food Science & Technology’s $100 million in a Series B. 

This can only mean that next year’s report will surely be Asia Pacific’s most investment-heavy year yet.  

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