CSIRO’s protein roadmap to put uniquely Australian protein on the global menu

A new roadmap produced by CSIRO with input from an array of stakeholders in the protein space, including FIAL, MLA and V2food, shows how Australia can deliver a wider variety of high-quality proteins – meat, dairy, insect, plant and cell-cultured – capitalising on a $13 billion market opportunity. 

Released on 22 March 2022, the ‘Protein: A roadmap for unlocking technology-led growth opportunities for Australia’ report also details how, by broadening its protein production slate, Australia could create up to 10,000 jobs and become a global leader in the sector.

With a forecast two billion more mouths to feed by 2050, and with changing tastes and dietary preferences, the world will need to produce more protein, more sustainably and from multiple sources, CSIRO states.

Soy bean is a common source of plant protein. Credit: Shutterstock

Protein growth opportunities

Growth opportunities identified include:

  • developing new plant-based protein-rich products;
  • turning lesser cuts of red meat into value-added protein powders and nutraceuticals;
  • developing higher-protein, better-tasting legume crops;
  • creating a new sustainable industry in Australian white-flesh fish; and 
  • exploring non-traditional forms of protein, such as cultivated meat and edible insects.

According to CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall, Australia’s exemplary reputation globally in food and agriculture present a standout opportunity for future growth.

“As protein demand grows and new consumer trends emerge, solutions from science can help create new markets and complement our existing, globally competitive traditional markets,” Dr Marshall said.

“This will help shift Australia’s reputation from being the world’s food bowl of commodities to becoming a global delicatessen of unique higher-value exports.

“We can supercharge growth in our traditional protein industries by harnessing technologies like digital traceability and integrity systems that enhance the premium status of Australian red meat, and grow new complementary protein markets through techniques like precision fermentation to generate a suite of new Australian products,” Dr Marshall said.

Demand for protein of all types is increasing globally, representing a $13 billion growth opportunity for Australian producers. Credit: Shutterstock

Meeting growing global demand

The roadmap highlights how growing global demand for protein can be met only if we bring together production systems for animal, plant and non-traditional proteins.

Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre FIAL’s Managing Director, Dr Mirjana Prica, said this near-insatiable demand creates significant export opportunities for all players in Australia’s broadening protein sector.

“Consumer demand is increasing for all protein sources. Australia has a real opportunity to have a thriving local food manufacturing sector while becoming a leading exporter in value-added traditional, plant and novel protein products,” Dr Prica said.

“Building domestic capacity and infrastructure to not only tap but to build scale for the plethora of protein opportunities is critical if we are to switch from importing ingredients to producing our own domestically,” she said.

Developing the National Protein Roadmap

CSIRO developed the roadmap in consultation with key stakeholders in government, industry and the research sector across Australia’s agriculture, food and innovation system,  driving a fruitful discussion about how best to grow the protein opportunity for national benefit, underpinned by the right infrastructure and technology.

National Protein Roadmap sponsors include the Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia state governments, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), GrainCorp, v2food, Austrade and the federal government’s Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL).

Read the report

Download the full report.

Further information

Read about CSIRO’s Future Protein Mission.

Access strategic and economic advice at CSIRO Futures

Source: Roadmap to put uniquely Australian protein on the global menu I CSIRO Media release, 22 March 2022