The food sector is witnessing a substantial shift in consumer interest in plant-based diets. Millennials, in particular, are keen to expand the quality and quantity of plant-based foods they consume. More generally, Americans are increasingly aware of the social, environmental, and financial costs of diets heavy in animal protein and are beginning to seek out foods that are healthier, more sustainable, and animal-friendly as well. Investors have taken note — pouring millions into new companies that promise to revolutionize the marketplace and urging existing market players to start shifting from animal proteins to plant proteins. In brief, the food landscape is changing, and changing fast. But is our regulatory and legal system prepared for this change?
With the aim of better understanding the law and policy hurdles facing innovative food companies working in the plant based foods space, the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA Law and George Abe, Faculty Director of the Strategic Management Research Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management, hosted a roundtable discussion on May 26, 2016, titled, Market Innovation and Plant Based Foods: The Role of Law in a Changing Food Landscape. The discussion was the second in a series hosted by UCLA Law and the UCLA Anderson School of Management on food entrepreneurship. The goal of this collaboration is to facilitate food entrepreneurship by identifying opportunities for law and public policy to contribute to the development of a more dynamic and innovative food sector.