BofA Securities, the multinational investment division of Bank of America, released a report highlighting the necessity for innovation in food production—including plant-based and vegan alternatives—to improve personal and planetary health and help fight climate change.
“A perfect storm of climate change, peak globalization and health risks is making the future of food ripe for transformation,” says BofA Securities. “With ~10bn people living on the planet by 2050, we need to produce more food in the next 40 years than we have harvested in the past 8,000 years.”
Food waste currently claims 1/3 of all food, while almost 50 percent of the world is either overweight or undernourished. Poor diet causes approximately 20 percent of deaths around the world. This is more than the number of deaths caused by smoking, alcohol consumption, and armed conflict combined.
“However, we are entering an exciting decade of Future Food technologies,” continues the report. “Helping us to tackle the challenges facing the world and to feed our growing population sustainably. We believe the traditional food industry can be transformed by a wave of cutting-edge technologies.”
“We estimate the Future Food solutions market opportunity to be worth US$200bn+ today,” adds the report. “Growing to US$300bn+ by 2025E at a ~9% CAGR.”
According to the report, this opportunity for growth could lead to further investment in concepts such as vertical farming. Indoor, vertical farming can produce up to 350 percent more yield than conventional farms with fewer carbon emissions.
The report also specifically highlights plant-based and lab-grown meat as viable alternatives. Both of which use significantly less water, and land than conventional animal agriculture. “We believe the current production of meat from livestock is unsustainable,” says the report.
Growing Vegan Demand
Veganism, vegetarianism, and flexitarianism are increasingly popular, particularly with younger generations. Growing concerns about the impact of animal-based food production on human health and the environment are driving plant-based growth.
“We believe ‘peak meat’ consumption growth in developed countries can be driven by the demographic shift to more plant-based diets,” says the report. It also predicts that plant-based proteins will be worth $40.6 billion by the end of 2025, up from $21.1 billion in 2020.
“Since 2015, searches for ‘veganism’ have grown 2x in America and 3x in Australia, France and Spain,” adds the report. “Ipsos MORI estimates that the number of vegans in Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2018, from 150,000 to 600,000, a little over 1% of the adult population. And in America roughly 2% of adults consider themselves vegans, according to YouGov.”