A new network launching on Monday aims to respond to the "urgent need" for New Zealand to capitalise on opportunities in the emerging protein sector.
Emerging Proteins NZ is a free network open to all individuals and businesses involved in the alternative protein sector, from growers and producers to manufacturers, retailers and exporters.
Emerging proteins include a wide range of protein sources, such as plants, fungi, insects, bacteria and cell-culture.
The network is run by FoodHQ, a food science and innovation hub headquartered in Manawatū.
Dr Abby Thompson, chief executive of FoodHQ, said the goal is to enable members to share knowledge and work together on common projects to help New Zealand capitalise on opportunities in the "globally exploding" food category.
Global plant-based protein sales rose 17 percent in 2018, and in New Zealand over 30 percent of consumers are changing their eating habits in response to health and environmental concerns, according to FoodHQ.
"There is a real gap in New Zealand for processing these proteins at scale. We're hoping that by getting all the parties together we can really speed up this process," Dr Thompson said.
Emerging Proteins chair Miranda Burdon says New Zealand needs to play catch-up if it wants to make the most of the opportunities on offer overseas.
"We need to leverage our collective strength if we are to get ahead of the pack globally. Judging by the interest we have from offshore for our new products, I believe New Zealand is incredibly well-positioned to capture more of the global demand for new, innovative protein sources."