Protein Future Scenarios

Future scenarios for land use in Aotearoa New Zealand

Project Details Ngā taipitopito

Project Status:
Challenge funding:
Research duration:
July 2022 – December 2023

Collaborators Ngā haumi

Lincoln University | Ruralis (Norway) | The AgriBusiness Group | University Of Canterbury | University Of Otago

You are here: Home / Projects / ­ Protein Future Scenarios

What are we doing?E aha ana mātou?

Increasing global interest and demand for alternative or plant-based protein has many implications for Aotearoa New Zealand. These may be positive, such as a potential decrease in emissions of  GHGs and nutrient runoff, or the establishment of new markets for new products. They may also be negative, such as disruption to the economics of milk and meat products.

This research programme will develop scenarios for plausible future states associated with the impact of ‘new proteins’, and model the economic, land use, and environmental implications. The project methodology, enhanced by collaboration with existing projects overseas, contributes to the identification of best practices for the plant-based protein sector.

The research will include a comprehensive assessment of a potential Māori protein economy.

The goal of this research is for New Zealand to more effectively respond to the impacts and opportunities associated with the growth in demand and production of new proteins.

How can the research be used? Ka pēhea e whai take ai te rangahau?

  • The growth of production and demand for alternative and plant-based proteins is expected to have a significant impact. This research programme aims to define these potential impacts to New Zealand agriculture and farming systems, thereby helping our primary industries plan for future protein systems and the land uses that are likely to develop.
  • Expert knowledge will be used to identify a set of plausible future scenarios for alternative proteins. The economic and landscape impacts of these scenarios will be analysed through economic modelling.
  • This modelling will provide a basis for evaluating policy and research opportunities to facilitate the development of more sustainable and resilient productive landscapes in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • The modelling will provide guidance and recommendations for potential incentives, policy and strategic activities that could be developed by the government, regional development entities, and the private sector, to effectively address the risks and opportunities associated with the new protein sector in Aotearoa.
  • The outcomes of the research will be reported to existing participants and interested investors in alternative and plant-based protein systems. These findings will contribute to the identification of best practices for the sector, and provide insight to the potential benefits and unanticipated impacts of the adoption of alternative and plant-based proteins.
  • Effort will be directed towards understanding the implications for Māori of future significant shifts in land use for producing plant-based proteins, and of new science that may create dramatically new styles of synthetic protein production. This project will provide post-settlement iwi corporations and Māori Land Trusts and incorporations with information concerning future opportunities, risks, and investment options in relation to alternative and plant-based proteins.

Participation & engagement Te hunga i whai wāhi mai

  • Three main groups of interested stakeholders have been identified: Māori organisations, Government departments (MPI, MBIE), and the diverse group represented by Emerging Proteins NZ. A group of participants from these three sectors will be briefed at the beginning of the work, and subsequently have input to the research methodology, scenario selection and discussion of the results.
  • The future scenarios will be identified through an iterative sequence of collaborative engagement, known as the Delphi process. This will progressively bring in wider groups of stakeholders, and provides the opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and expertise. At all steps, a concerted effort will be made to seek Māori input.
  • The project’s Te Ao Māori lead will design and lead the stakeholder engagement process, and will undertake stakeholder interviews with Māori organisations during the Delphi process. He will also supervise two Māori students who will be employed as summer interns to gain experience at interviewing and working in applied social research.
  • A hui will involve a wider group of Māori communities and groups to facilitate planning and developing current and future land-use.
  • Industry groups will be brought in by including a representative sample in the Delphi process, then through sequential reporting of the Delphi stages.
  • Policymakers at local and national government levels will be invited to participate in the Delphi process. Results of the research will be shared with policymakers in a seminar which will promote discussion on the implications for the alternative protein sector’s future direction.

Research team Te hunga i whai wāhi mai

Project Lead/ Implementation Lead
Jon Manhire
The Agribusiness Group
Science Lead
Christopher Rosin
Lincoln University
Te Ao Māori Lead
John Reid
University of Canterbury / Earth Quotient
Stuart Ford
The Agribusiness Group
Sarah Connell
The Agribusiness Group
Hugh Campbell
University of Otago
Simon Barber
University of Otago
Miranda Mirosa
University of Otago
Rob Burton
Ruralis, Trondheim, Norway
Klaus Mittenzwei
Ruralis, Trondheim, Norway

Tools & resources Ngā utauta me ngā rauemi


Alternative protein scenarios – 2-page summary

Scenarios were created to outline the potential outcomes around the future for alternative protein in New Zealand based on expert interview, a literature review, and…
View Summary
Technical Report

Protein Futures: Future Scenarios for Land-Use in Aotearoa New Zealand Synthesis Report

The Protein Future Scenarios project was designed to provide insight to the potential implications of alternative proteins (including plant-based, fermentation and cellular) for land use…
View Technical Report

Future Proteins: Risk or opportunity for Māori agribusiness?

Agriculture is woven into Aotearoa New Zealand’s national identity. A future that embraces alternative methods of accessing proteins has the potential for significant disruption at…
View Summary

Beyond meat and milk

Three scenarios show us how the rise of new proteins could radically change the future of farming in Aotearoa. This interactive summary for non-technical readers describes…
View Summary

Artificial proteins in Aotearoa New Zealand: Imagining futures for new technologies

The rapid growth of the cultivated meat industry; how cultivated meat protein is made, recent developments in the sector, and the view from Aotearoa New…
View Presentation

Future Landscapes Projects

Shutterstock 1031980621New Zealand, South Island, pine forest near Wakefield in the north of the south island.

Visualising Forestry Harvesting Cycles

Future risk planning through the visualisation of forestry harvesting cycles
View Project
Kids & Co Photos / Laura Bolt / TrueStock

Matarau: Empowering Māori Landowners in Land Use Decisions

Providing accessible and useful data to support Māori landowners to prioritise land-use options
View Project
Next Generation Systems Illo

Next Generation Systems

Identifying next generation primary production systems and opportunities to change the face of farming
View Project
This project has produced
Information Type Icon Journal Article OutlineInformation Type Icon Presentation OutlineInformation Type Icon Technical Reports Outline

Faecal Source Tracking

Identifying the sources of faecal contamination in waterways, and identifying naturalised Escherichia coli to help establish water quality for swimming
View Project

Phosphorus Best Practice

Investigating whether current fertiliser and effluent guidelines and policy are strong enough to prevent phosphorus loss
View Project

Healthy Estuaries

Assessing the interactions between loadings of different contaminants from freshwaters on the health and functioning of estuaries
View Project
Scroll to Top