A recent survey conducted by Cargill revealed that consumers expect to keep protein on their shipping lists, as part of what they view as a healthy and sustainable diet. To comment these results, Frozen Food Europe recently sat down with Cargill’s Chuck Warta, president of Premix and Nutrition business, who also discussed topics related to the traceability of agricultural commodities, the challenges associated with implementing sustainability practices in the industry and more.
Two-thirds of respondents in new global research by Cargill say they intent to maintain or increase their consumption of animal protein in the next year. How can you explain these results in the context of increasing interest in plant-based diets among consumers?
Our findings suggest that for many consumers, animal-derived and plant-based proteins are a “yes, and” proposition: they want both in their diets. 67% percent of participants in our global Feed4Thought survey said they intend to maintain or increase their intake of animal protein in the coming year. At the same time, 83% of respondents expressed interest in plant-based and/or cultured meat. We see the same trend in dairy. Our research shows that about half of U.S. consumers buy both traditional dairy and plant-based dairy alternatives.
How much more, do you think, can the industry do to improve levels of sustainability?
Based on the headway made to date, we are confident that the food and agriculture industry can continue to improve its level of sustainability. Progress in helping farmers do more with less is one of the biggest untold sustainability stories in agriculture today – and this is a top focus for Cargill when it comes to nourishing the world while protecting the planet.
Last year, for example, improved feed efficiency from our additives and precision nutrition lowered farmers’ global feed use enough to prevent more than 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases – the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road. And we are becoming even more disciplined about embedding sustainability in our R&D process. Effective June 1, we have made the commitment that all our premix and nutrition offerings will contain at least one value chain sustainability benefit.
This serves farmers’ desire to raise their efficiency and sustainability. Of course, farmers want to run their businesses more profitably, but they also want to steward natural resources for the next generation who will be caring for their operations one day. Consumers are voting with their wallets too. They want to know not just the “what” about their food but the “how.” How was it raised? How was it housed? How was it processed? This sends a powerful signal to the market to build a sustainable food system that serves changing consumer preferences and protects the planet.
You can read the entire interview the next print edition (May/June) of Frozen Food Europe.