Senator Hunter speaks into a microphone while seated at a table during a committee hearing.SPRINGFIELD — By 2050, global demand for meat is expected to rise by 50%, and meeting this demand with conventional protein options alone would accelerate pollution and drain limited resources. To proactively explore Illinois’ sustainable protein options, State Senator Mattie Hunter has been appointed co-chair of the Illinois Alternative Protein Innovation Task Force.

“After advancing legislation to create the Alternative Protein Innovation Task Force, I value the opportunity to join in on this valuable work,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “This unique opportunity allows us to explore groundbreaking solutions to concerns in the agriculture sector that align with our commitment to sustainability and economic growth.”

The task force is set up to explore different protein sources and assess their potential benefits, with the ultimate goal of understanding how alternative proteins — like plant-based protein, cultivated meat and fermented proteins — could boost the economy, create jobs and reduce the environmental impacts of traditional meat production.

According to the National Institutes of Health, livestock production accounts for between 12-18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, including 37% of methane gas emissions worldwide. Additionally, the global livestock industry uses diminishing supplies of fresh water, which can harm grasslands and forests and cause soil erosion — all of which can be limited through the production of alternative protein options.

“The growing demand for meat presents both challenges and opportunities for our agricultural industry,” said Hunter. “By promoting the expansion of alternative protein sources, we can ensure food security across our communities, ease harmful environmental effects and support our state’s economy.”

Legislation creating the 17-person task force was signed into law in August last year. To learn more about the Alternative Protein Innovation Task Force, or to see other appointees, visit