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[Music plays and a split circle appears and photographs of different CSIRO activities flash through in either side of the circle, and then the circle morphs into the CSIRO logo]

[Image changes to show Aarti Tobin talking to the camera, and text appears: Dr Aarti Tobin, CSIRO] 

I'm Aarti Tobin. I'm a food technologist and a scientist. 

[Image changes to show a close side facing view of Aarti talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show photos of raw red meat, and then cooking red meat being brushed with marinade]

The focus of my work has been on animal protein, especially focusing on value adding to the largest agri-food export that we have in Australia, which is red meat.

[Image changes to show an aerial view of a herd of cows, and then the image changes to show a close view of cows in a paddock]

One of the challenges with livestock production is greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts.

[Image changes to show a facing close view of cows looking through a fence, and then the image changes to show a cow sitting in green grass]

So we have to take that into consideration to make sure that we get the best value out of the animal. 

[Image changes to show a close view of Aarti talking to the camera, and then the camera zooms out a little on Aarti]

In a carcass, only 40 to 45% of it is meat.

[Image changes to show a close view of Aarti talking to the camera]

Eighty percent of that is what we call manufacturing meat, it is the meat that you would then use in mince or make burgers out of it.

[Images move through to show a close view of minced red meat, and then a close view of cubed red meat being cooked]
So we are looking at adding value to the manufacturing grade meat and the other by and co-products from the animal. 

[Images move through to show a lump of red meat being sliced, and then red meat being placed into a freezer]

One of the challenges with meat is that it has to be kept chilled or frozen to keep it safe for consumption. 

[Images move through to show a butcher placing meat into the shop counter display, meat being packed into a bag, and then a close view of beef jerky]

Meat is not shelf-stable as such. The only shelf-stable form of meat that you can get in the supermarket is beef jerky. 

[Images move through to show a shopper selecting meat from a shelf, butchers working on cutting up meat, and then mince falling into a bowl]

And what we're trying to do is we're trying to bring meat in a space that it actually doesn't exist at the moment. So what we're trying to do is make meat into a generic protein. 

[Images move through to show Aarti talking to the camera, a close view of Aarti talking to the camera, a close view of protein powder in a jar, and a view looking down on the powder in the jar]

We're taking our manufacturing grade meat, which is our lower value meat, we're adding enzymes to it, we're breaking down the protein, we're going through a series of separation processes, and we end up with this powder, which is odorless, colourless, and with neutral flavour. 

[Images move through to show a hand running through the powder, a male taking a protein ball from a plate and eating it, protein bars on a board, and raw mince and protein balls on plates side by side]

We're using this high protein powder that we produce in value add products like protein balls, protein shakes, protein bars, and this protein can be used to replace our dairy-based protein and plant-based proteins.

[Image changes to show Aarti talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a close view of Aarti talking to the camera]

When we're coming up with innovations in the food space, it's really important to make sure that we are taking consumer preferences and needs into consideration. 

[Image changes to show powder being put in a conical flask, and then the image changes to show mince and protein balls on two plates side by side]

Offering meat in a dry, shelf-stable format with loads of nutrients could do just that.

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Sustainably grow the value of animal derived protein in Australia's domestic and export markets.

Beef is Australia's largest agrifood export. ©  Meat & Livestock Australia


The Future Protein Mission is driving sustainable animal protein production to:

  • increase the value of Australian animal derived protein exports
  • turn animal protein co-products and waste into value-added products
  • develop new manufacturing capability in Australia
  • develop new aquaculture industries, leading to new jobs and growth
  • develop new sustainable ingredients and animal feeds
  • develop trusted sustainability metrics for animal production
  • diversify meat products targeted at different consumer segments and eating occasions
  • enhance Australia's food security through domestic supply chains.

The challenge and opportunity

Australia was the world's most valuable beef exporter in 2019, generating A$10.8 billion. Australia is also home to thriving dairy, egg, poultry, lamb, goat and aquaculture industries.

Around the world, booming population growth, rising incomes, urbanisation and shifting consumer preferences have led to higher animal protein consumption. In fact, from 1998 to 2018, global meat consumption increased by 58 per cent, reaching 360 million tonnes a year.

This trend is continuing particularly in Asian countries, such as China and Vietnam. Australia can continue to be a major exporter to these countries into the future as demand rises.

Similarly, seafood consumption has climbed overseas and domestically. Australia has a growing pink-flesh salmon industry, however white-flesh fish production is small in comparison. This means that Australia currently relies on imports for most white-flesh fish consumed domestically.

Consumer trends towards health and wellness are also an opportunity for Australia to develop new value-added products made from animal protein. Australia can also leverage its comparative advantage as a producer of high-quality, sustainable and high-welfare animal protein products.

To capitalise on these opportunities, science and industry must come together to develop new technologies, products, processes and business models.

Our solution

We are working with Australia's animal protein production industries, as well as government and the research sector, to co-develop cutting edge ideas for new and improved protein products.

We're helping develop a thriving Australian aquaculture industry.

Our Future Protein Mission is currently working on:

  • New white flesh fish industry – establishing affordable white-flesh fish production in Australia through a circular aquaculture economy. While continuing to grow already established finfish aquaculture industries, we are undertaking work to identify a suitable new fish species and establish key collaborations needed to develop, prove and scale that industry.
  • Developing sustainable aquaculture – we are working on new sustainable functional feed formulations and additives, as well as looking at recycling approaches to produce feed from waste for Australia’s aquaculture industry. For example, converting agriculture waste as feed for insects and then upcycling the insect protein for use in aquafeeds.
  • Diversifying meat products – together with Meat & Livestock Australia, we are finding ways to utilise lower value cuts of red meat and co-products as ingredients in new products, such as protein powders. This will see animal protein used sustainably in a wider range of settings, such as snacking, convenience foods and personalised nutrition.
  • Sustainability frameworks – we are establishing sustainability metrics for animal protein production that can be used to add value and help consumers assess their options and make informed decisions. An outcome so far has been a benchmark for beef on net protein contribution.

Opportunities to participate

  • food manufacturers looking to deliver new product formats to address consumer trends such as health, wellness and convenience and expand meat into new eating occasions, such as snacking
  • meat and plant protein hybrid or blended products
  • adding value to co-product or waste streams
  • development and testing of aquaculture feeds using alternative ingredients, such as single cell proteins, insect proteins, oils, animal and plant waste streams.

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