Global population growth, increased life expectancy and climate change are all impacting world's food systems. In industrialised countries, many individuals are consuming significantly more protein than needed to maintain health, with the majority being obtained from animal products, including meat, dairy, fish and other aquatic animals. Current animal production systems are responsible for a large proportion of land and fresh-water use, and directly contributing to climate change through the production of greenhouse gases. Overall, approximately 60% of the global protein produced is used for animal and fish feed. Concerns about their impact on both human, and planetary health, have led to calls to dramatically curb our consumption of animal products. Underutilised plants, insects and single-cell organisms are all actively being considered as alternative protein sources. Each present challenges that need to be met before they can become economically viable and safe alternatives for food or feed. Many plant species contain anti-nutritional factors that impair the digestion and absorption of protein and micronutrients. Insects represent a potentially rich source of high-quality protein although, questions remain relating to digestibility, allergenicity and biosecurity. Algae, fungi and bacteria are also a rich source of protein and there is growing interest in the development of ‘cultured meat’ using stem cell technology. For the foreseeable future, it appears likely that the ‘protein-economy’ will remain mixed. The present paper reviews progress and future opportunities in the development of novel protein sources as food and animal feed.