2018 – Plastics
2019 – Alternative Proteins
2020 - ….................?
With the first full working week of 2020 down, I’m interested in hearing opinions as to what could be the next big trend(s) in Australian Agriculture, Food and Beverage for 2020.
2019 saw the dominance of alternative proteins and a fairly one-sided debate, the view being that livestock are a significant catalyst for the state of the planet. The importance of agriculture in general and livestock in particular in the global context is difficult to overstate. 40% of the world’s population derive their livelihoods from agriculture, animal proteins are and will remain incredibly important, not only economically but also in the fight to reduce hunger and malnutrition.
“Is it vegans and vegetarians driving the growth of this area or is it the flexitarian looking out for themselves with the planet in mind?” The 20’s will be a pivotal decade for how we produce, move, and consume, but what will be the big talking points in 2020?
Through my role with Global Table Australia in 2019, working with the team at Seeds&Chips, exposed me to new and emerging innovations in technology, practices and products that are driving us towards a more sustainable food system. In the lead up and throughout the event, I had many conversations and gained insights from leading innovators across Australia, NZ, Asia, USA and Europe.
Below are the five areas that I expect will produce big talking points in Australia in 2020
Food waste – It’s increasing as a key area of conversation, that everyone can have a positive impact in. It has quite significant Greenhouse Gas Emissions and there are big opportunities here both environmentally and economically. The circular economy is seeing this opportunity move beyond value adding in the form of waste by products, like composts, to higher value goods from further processing of what was previously considered waste. Aquabotanicals have developed products through their technology that extracts water from Fruit, Vegetables and now even sugar cane waste. Susie and Gerard Daly the 2019 Australian Farmer of the Year, have developed their second grade potatoes into Vodka, gin, and other value added products.
Low alcoholic beverages – All major Australian brewers are now producing low and zero alcohol beers. BWS states sales of non-alcoholic beers grew 60% in the second half of 2019. Melbourne based start-up, Brunswick Aces, production of non-alcoholic Gin has blossomed well beyond its backyard origins. Will even more creativity and expansion in the adult beverage space see this area providing the social buzz without the headache in 2020?
Indigenous and native foods – An overnight success that has been around for 40,000 years started to come to the fore later in 2019 as an emerging opportunity. Australia’s ‘bush tucker’ not only has rich cultural history, it exhibits many flavours and nutrient rich foods that are resilient to environment conditions, and may provide significant new commercial opportunities. With indigenous producers ‘not having enough native produce available’ for demand, are they going to see significant growth in 2020 and our very own superfoods?
‘Traditional vs Alternative’ – It was the dominant conversation of 2019, product ranges have expanded from vege burgers to now fish fillets, prawns, bacon and product ranges will continue to grow this year. It was a highly emotive conversation but will we see a levelling and balance of the conversation in 2020? Health conscious consumers are seeking out more ways to not only look after themselves but also protect the planet. From the old staple of milk, to burgers, to now bacon and fish – Is Lasagne the next target?
Storytelling – The demand for transparency is growing. With initiatives such as #thankafarmer leading the Paddock-to-plate conversation, in 2020 we will see greater engagement across the entire supply chain from point of origin throughout the journey to consumption. Broadly, people will be gaining exposure and insights more authentically into how food is produced, moved, processed and where it goes beyond the plate. The critical link here is people, and I think millenials will be the ones driving this.
Do you agree, disagree or want to discuss these more? I'm looking forward to seeing what other trends we should be watching and what will be the big talking points of 2020!
Oli Le Lievre
Oli's experience is extensive for someone his age; from AgTech to production agriculture to consulting. He was a key member in the development of Australia's largest agrifood event in 2019. Oli's passionate about a resilient food system and believes engaged people are pivotal to this success.