Plant-Based Summit Wrap-Up 2023

Observations following the Plant Based Summit Melbourne 2023


Bruce McIntyre

8/30/20236 min read

It’s not all doom and gloom in the world despite what the media pumps out daily. I’m not saying people and businesses are not hurting, of course they are. But if we don’t have hope for a brighter future why get out of bed?

It is a hard enough job to get consumers engaged with a new food and beverage category, perception issues around taste and texture, overlay that with a high price point and there is the mountain pass to navigate.

The good news is that as an industry, we are still rapidly innovating and many companies are pivoting to keep growth aspirations alive.

So it’s time that we step up as leaders and work together to support and grow our industry for the betterment of humanity.

I was enlightened and incredibly encouraged by the thought leadership presented at the Plant-Based Summit in Melbourne last month. The theme was ‘growth’ and how we get greater consumer adoption of plant based food and beverage. Here is a super quick snapshot of my key outtakes for your perusal:

Bob Sudharshan Ratnarajah
CEO Purpose with Profit

Bob launched his Four States of Business model to help understand and distil where businesses currently sit and where they need to move to be truly impactful and ensure success. Bob’s passion and insights into building tribes around businesses was a great foundation to open the summit.

Jean-Philippe Ral

JP provided a rapid fire breakdown on where the alternative protein trends and R&D sits for both the domestic and international markets. Wrapping up with the progress of the Future Protein Mission, it was great to hear from our national research institute and what is flowing through their innovation pipeline.

Theresa Pham
Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council Manager

Theresa delivered findings from the GLNC plant based report, providing insights that can be used by industry members to help position businesses using real data for informed decisions.

Keynote Speaker:
Katrina McCarter
Consumer Insights Marketing Expert

Katrina loaded us with insights across Generational Marketing and Marketing to Mums. How each generation and the mums segment has its own marketing code to crack to connect and engage, building sustainable relationships and sales. This brief summary isn’t giving Katrina justice, so please contact her to engage in a strategic and data led conversation to help grow your business.

Kim Tonnet
Food Scientist & Regulatory Advocate
Ben Ryan
Senior Associate Avant Law

Kim and Ben shared the stage to provide critical insights and updates across regulatory affairs, Food Standards Code impacting labelling, establishing safety of novel foods and the legal landscape across IP and trademarks. It is always critical to get our regulatory, advocacy and legal understanding in place to avoid big reputational impacts.

Nicholas Dahl
Founder & CEO Alternative Proteins Global

Nicholas has a great vision to provide exceptional data driven insights for the global Alt Protein industry. He delivered a captivating view of our world covering investors and investments, products and pricing in the Australian retail landscape.

Jurgen Kennedy
Director North East Asia at AAK /
Director ASIA Plant Based Foods AAK

Jurgen delivered a fascinating update on the Singapore Governments policy of 30% food production domestically by 2030. The eco system that has been put in place to deliver this crosses government investment, education and research institute integration, which is driving commercial investment into Singapore. This is a real tangible model that is working to provide food security in the whole alternate protein industry. Creating policy certainty and a fully integrated eco system is a model more governments should adopt.

Brenton Barker
Director and Founder, Food and Dairy Co.

Brenton provided insights into the history of how plant based milk was rolled out into cafes in Australia. It is clear that food service operators like Brenton can make or break new product entrants into the marketplace. The obvious question Brenton asks is ‘what problem does a product solve?’. If he is going to support a product, he needs to tell a compelling true story to his clients or he won’t touch it. Brenton looks after his clients with passion and drive, which is evident in the way he presented. Great to see such passion in business.

Chris Johnston
Lupins for Life

It was great to interview Chris to get a fix on a farm gate enterprise that takes lupin grown on the farm, processes it and takes it into the market. Farms have bumper seasons and hard seasons, but input cost pressure doesn’t change, with many costs up circa 30%. Chris is passionate about the family farm and the health benefits that lupin deliver, check out Lupins for Life if you get a chance.

Allen Zelden
Founder PlantForm and Boldly Foods

Allen is a thought leader in our industry and has a great understanding on the domestic and international market. His PlantForm business is a white label solution that aggregates manufacturing for plant based foods, while his Boldly brand provides plant based seafood exclusively to the food service channel in the USA. It was great to hear Allen’s thoughts on the need to deliver consistently reliable product at the right price point, which is just as critical as innovation.

A massive thank you again to our sponsors of the Plant-Based Summit.

Don’t forget to join the APBA as a member and contribute to a future of growth for our industry.

Bruce McIntyre,
CEO of the Australasian Plant-Based Association

The major sponsors who made the 2023 Plant-Based Summit a success!


I chatted with Glen Cassidy about the history and ethos of Macamilk. Macamilk provided the plant based milk for the coffee cart on the day and gave away product for attendees to try at home.

Coco & Lucas

A huge thank you to Diem Fuggersberger for her support and providing lunch. It was great to hear her story and the growing success including exporting overseas from their vertically integrated family business.

Fine Cultures

Imber Lingard provided a feeding frenzy with a dozen different plant based cheeses and a luscious spread for our end of summit networking session. Washed down with vegan wine, what a way to celebrate an awesome day. Imber your story is amazing, keep telling it.