The vital role of traceability in Australia’s growing protein industry

With the world’s population predicted to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, Australia’s growers and producers are well positioned to tap into the growing global demand for protein – one of the essential building blocks for life.

The protein industry has enjoyed strong growth in recent decades. Global protein consumption rose by 40% between 2000 and 2018, with Asia accounting for more than 50% of the increase. Looking ahead, the growing middle class in countries such as China and India are expected to push global protein consumption from 26kg per person each year in 2018 to 33kg in 2025 – a predicted 27% increase.

Working out how best to fuel this growth – particularly in the face of increasing supply chain complexities – is becoming a top priority for the industry.

Australia’s chief scientific agency, the CSIRO, has identified global food security and quality as a key mission over the next decade, with high-growth protein markets in neighbouring countries worth an additional $10b as the nation helps to feed a growing world. From traditional animal protein to the fast-growing alternative plant-based proteins market, and emerging industries tapping into insects, yeast, and algae, there are bountiful opportunities for Australian farmers and food producers to develop new and innovative protein products to feed the modern health and welfare conscious consumer.

CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall believes the ever-growing demand for high-quality protein products presents Australia with a unique opportunity. “Australia is a major producer and exporter of protein products and we can help grow this industry by $10b by 2025 — creating jobs in agri-business, food processing and advanced biomanufacturing across regional Australia,” he said in this article.

 

Confidence in protein’s complex supply chain

As the protein industry continues to evolve, with alternative protein producers finding their place at the table, the industry standards need to evolve. Right now, the industry standards are pretty basic – and producers have a great opportunity to lead the way in terms of proving provenance and traceability of their products.

Provenance is becoming particularly important as a new generation of consumers make more ethical decisions on what they choose to eat. Indeed, the CSIRO has identified traceability as an important factor in building trust in the safety and quality of our homegrown food both at home and overseas. The agency is working towards building a national food provenance data infrastructure to support traceability, helping to ease regulatory burdens and enable locally grown food to be exported to more places.

In the meantime, food producers can get on the front foot with traceability. For example, Muddy Boots’ Greenlight Supplier Management solution is ideal for capturing quality data through the entire processing supply chain. The platform enables full traceability across the supply chain and automatically raises any red flags that might compromise compliance.

Globally, Unilever uses Greenlight Supplier Management to track and monitor hundreds of fresh produce suppliers against key sustainability measures. “The Greenlight Assessments Reporting Tool allows us to spot trends in the industry which can be broken down by individual supplier, country and product. As a result, we are able to see immediately what and where the issues are and what needs to be improved. This is achieved at the click of a mouse instead of having to review mounds of paper,” said Andrea Granier, Procurement Operation Manager, Sustainable Sourcing at Unilever.

“Understanding that we have to make a real difference in sustainability terms and being able to communicate this through our brands is leading us to create new ways of working with our suppliers.”

Paving the way from paddock to plate

Whether your protein of choice is plant- or animal-based, one thing’s for sure. The growing global reliance on Australian protein producers has increased the need for deep transparency across the industry – both to meet increasingly stringent safety regulations and address the provenance concerns of today’s consumers.

For more information on how our solutions can help you in the Australian protein market please contact Sean.Verlander@muddyboots.com

Senior Business Development Manager, APAC, Muddy Boots by TELUS Agriculture

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