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Sustainable alternatives to conventional animal-based foods are attracting substantial investment, according to a first-of-its-kind report by The Good Food Institute

The new ‘third pillar’ of the alternative protein industry

According to GFI’s fermentation state of the industry report, alternative protein companies raised $1.5 billion in the first seven months of 2020. More specifically, companies devoted to fermentation technology received a record $435 million in venture capital funding over the same period, up from $274 million in 2019.

This rapid growth hails microbial fermentation’s emerging role as a ‘third pillar’ of the alternative protein industry, alongside plant-based proteins and cultivated meat. 

Industry pioneers

Innovators such as Impossible Foods and Perfect Day have pioneered tasty, sustainable alternatives to animal protein using fermentation technology.

Now several of the world’s largest food and life science companies are tapping into the increasing consumer appetite for plant based alternatives to animal products. Giants such as DuPont and DSM are working on fermentation-derived alternative proteins, while the world’s largest meat company, JBS, is using fermentation to develop their new brand, Planterra Foods. 

‘Fermentation could help feed the world’

GFI Executive Director Bruce Friedrich said: “Fermentation’s ability to efficiently produce protein could help feed the world, significantly alleviating global malnutrition. Fermentation could enable companies to meet the growing demand for high-quality protein at a cost that is competitive with or lower than that of animal products.

“Microbes and fermented plant proteins can also provide the sensory experiences and full nutritional profiles of animal products but without the range of external costs that come with industrial animal production, from massive contributions to climate change to growing antibiotic resistance and zoonotic diseases.”