Food fuels our lives. It nourishes us, brings us closer together, and gives us what we need to thrive. No matter who you are, where you come from or what your customs and culture, food is an integral part of who we all are.
We want food that's familiar; delicious meals we know and love. Food that's prepared with care. Food that comforts us and reminds us of good times.
We want food that's new and creative. Food that ignites our imagination and excites our taste buds. Food that inspires us to live well.
And we want food that doesn't harm our bodies or the world. Food that's safe, clean and nutritious into the future, for our children and grandchildren. It's a human right, but one that's under severe threat.
In countries like Australia and the USA, most people eat around 100kg of meat annually—almost double the average from 1950. It's no surprise that the biggest killers in these countries are now heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, which have been linked to high consumption of animal-based meat in thousands of medical studies.
Infectious diseases like influenza can decimate intensively farmed animal populations and spread to people. Faecal bacteria from slaughtered animals' intestines can also contaminate meat; with four out out of five portions of raw chicken meat in Australia contaminated according to Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
The overcrowded conditions of factory farms and intensive fish farms are ripe breeding grounds for antibiotic- resistant bugs. The world's leading health authorities warn that overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture risks a return to commonplace illnesses, injuries and infections once again becoming fatal.
Livestock contribute as much to global greenhouse emissions as the world's entire transportation sector. According to Chatham House, even if the burning of fossil fuels were to cease, our system of animal agriculture would still push the climate beyond 2-degrees of warming, leading to irreversible climate change.
Waterways and oceans are also polluted by livestock production. A factory farm with 5,000 pigs can produce as much effluent as a town of 20,000 people. But unlike sewage treatment in most towns, effluent from intensive pig farms often ends up in large open-aired 'lagoons', which can contaminate underground drinking water and run off into rivers and oceans.
Animal manure run-off is choking underwater ecosystems worldwide, contributing to ocean 'dead zones'. Commercial fish farming can destroy habitats through toxic bacterial overgrowth. And 'super trawlers' — massive fishing ships — kill dolphins, seals and turtles alongside countless fish every time their enormous nets are pulled in. The UN estimates that 90% of the world's fish stocks are now fully fished or overfished.
Meat farming is wiping out habitats on land at an alarming rate. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and biodiversity loss worldwide, including in the Amazon. In Australia, iconic animals like the koala face being bulldozed when Queensland forests are cleared — 91% of which is for cattle grazing.
Animals eat on average six kilograms of plant protein to produce a single kilogram of meat. We're feeding edible grains to animals and then we're eating those animals, which is not only hugely wasteful, it can increase the cost of grain for people living in poverty. Animal agriculture also sucks up much of the world's fresh water supply, with 1,500L of water required to produce a single conventionally produced hamburger—roughly the same amount a human would drink in three years!
Like us, farmed animals fear pain, seek comfort, and wish to live free from harm. Most animals we eat today — about 70 billion worldwide — live in factories of steel and concrete, and are denied the expression of any natural behaviours. Many also routinely suffer extreme confinement and surgical procedures without pain relief, like the removal of tails, teeth and beaks.
To feed the world's growing population in coming years without compromising the health of people or the planet, we must champion ground-breaking new ways of producing food.
Fortunately, through technology, science and innovation, we have the ingredients we need to revolutionise our favourite foods, including meat—possibly the most damaging of them all. Around the world, a growing cohort of food innovators are creating delicious burgers, meatballs and fillets without the chickens, cows and fish. It's a far cleaner and greener way to produce the foods we love.
Food Frontier is clearing the path for these new pioneers, as well as existing industry leaders, to make these foods as delicious, affordable and accessible as possible, and foster innovation within Australia's protein sector. We're set on bringing about systemic change for the health of people and planet.
Why do we eat meat — because it comes from a slaughtered animal, causes pollution or might be contaminated with salmonella? Of course not. Most people eat meat because they like the taste, it's familiar, and it's widely accessible and affordable. So what if we could enjoy the same delicious experience and ease without the bad stuff? Well thanks to clever entrepreneurs and food scientists, we now can.
A growing number of visionary food start-ups are harnessing plants, food technology and the principles of neuroscience to create plant-based meat that tastes, smells and sizzles like animal-based meat, at equal or higher nutritional value.
A growing number of visionary food start-ups are harnessing plants, food technology and the principles of neuroscience to create plant-based meat that tastes, smells and sizzles like animal-based meat, at equal or higher nutritional value.They ask a simple question: what makes meat, meat? And the answer is simple: amino acids, lipids, vitamins, minerals and water. The exact same nutrients found in plants.
By first examining meat at the molecular level, these food experts carefully select the same nutrients from plant species—including ones that haven't previously been widely explored for food production—and combine them to produce the taste, texture and overall experience of eating meat.
On average, plant-based beef, like the Impossible Burger (video below), requires 95% less land, 74% less water and emits 87% fewer greenhouse gasses than conventional beef.
Clean meat, made using cell-culturing technology, comes from a simple realisation. In the current food industry, animals are used as meat-making machines—but, they're a highly wasteful method of converting plant protein (feed) and H2O (water) into animal protein (meat). So food leaders asked: how can we produce the same product without using animals, which are damaging, resource-intensive and disease-prone? Enter: cellular agriculture.
Cellular agriculture is the process of harvesting animal cells instead of entire animals. It involves taking a tiny sample of real animal cells (from a sesame seed-sized biopsy), and placing it
Cellular agriculture is the process of harvesting animal cells instead of entire animals. It involves taking a tiny sample of real animal cells (from a sesame seed-sized biopsy), and placing it in a mineral bath, or 'media', which contains the same nutrients the animal would typically consume—water, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The cells grow into meat, like they would in an animal's body, but without any hormones, antibiotics or bacterial contamination, and with a fraction of the resources (hence the term 'clean meat'!) Plus, genetic modification isn’t required. At scale, the process takes place inside steel tanks—similar to what you would find in a beer brewery.
On average, clean beef requires 99% less land, 96% less water and emits 96% fewer greenhouse gasses than conventional beef.
At Food Frontier, we believe healthy, humane and sustainable food should be a delicious and affordable reality for everyone.
We're a registered non-profit working to accelerate the growth of game-changing protein innovations, like plant-based and clean meat, across the Asia Pacific for the sake of people and planet. We are endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (meaning financial contributions made to us are tax dedictible).
By supporting diversification of Australia's local and international meat markets, and leveraging the country's influence in the Asia Pacific food sector, the shift towards greener, healthier protein sources can happen more quickly.
We provide expertise and support to facilitate the emergence of game-changing protein innovations through conducting research, promoting investment and improving supply chain integration.
We provide networks and market insights to connect innovators and industry with high-impact opportunities to develop, produce and supply new protein innovations in our region.
We provide information and influence to advocate to consumers, businesses and government the health, environmental and economic benefits of new proteins innovations.
Through expertise, networks and market insight, we grow the movement for game-changing protein innovations — like plant-based and clean meat — across the Asia Pacific, for the good of people and planet.
For 8 years Thomas has led environmental, animal welfare, health and global development projects across 5 continents, from driving global campaigns to protect rainforest in Borneo to helping alleviate poverty in Cambodia, even documenting climate change in the Arctic with IMAX. Upon realising the major contribution of large scale meat production across all of these important fields, Thomas founded Food Frontier to grow the development and consumption of protein innovations that are vastly better for people and the planet. Thomas was named Young Australian of the Year (VIC) in 2015.
For over 12 years, David has worked for the world's leading aerospace companies including Boeing and Airbus across Switzerland, Malaysia, Australia and Germany. As an aerospace engineer and previous business owner, David has a wealth of expertise in project and operations management, strategy development and manufacturing, which he is excited to bring to Food Frontier to help accelerate the growth of plant-based and clean meat innovations across the Asia Pacific.
Partner at Alpenrose Wealth Management Intl
CEO, KBW Ventures
CEO, Food Innovation Centre
Molecular Biologist & Patent Attorney
Director, The Good Food Institute
Clean Meat Scientist
International Animal Advocate
Government Relations & Start-Up Strategist