GFI invests US$5m alternative protein research as Hollywood star DiCaprio invests in cultivated meat

US – The Good Food Institute has awarded US$5 million in grants to support research in alternative proteins – a “powerful and scalable climate solution” that lacks critical funding.  

According to a statement from the organization, the funding will go to 22 research projects with potential to “get us closer to the holy grail of alt proteins – generating whole cuts of meat and seafood.”  

GFI revealed that Thirteen of these projects are focused on cultivated meat, two are focused on fermentation, and seven are focused on plant-based meat.  

These projects will take place in eight different countries across four continents, the non-profit revealed. 

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The grants are a boost to the alternative protein sector which is severely underfunded when compared to other sustainability initiatives.  

Data from GFI reveals that public expenditures on alt protein R&D in 2020 totaled a meager US$55 million which is 490 times less the amount invested in clean energy R&D during the same period of time. 

Despite lack of funding, alternative proteins can play a crucial role in transforming food production systems globally.    

GFI stress that Public funding of open-access research that has real-world applications would ensure that private investments are not spent duplicating foundational R&D efforts.  

Since 2019, GFI has funded over US$13 million worth of open-access research on alt-protein research, inclusive of 70 discrete research projects. 

Leonardo DiCaprio backs cultivated meat firms 

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As the world awaits governments to step up support for alternative protein, the private sector has been doubling down on its investments. 

Just recently, Hollywood star and environment activist Leonardo DiCaprio invested an undisclosed amount in cultured meat startups Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms.  

Both companies have made a name for themselves in the cultivated meat category, with Dutch-based Mosa Meat introducing the first cultivated hamburger in 2013 and Israel-based Aleph Farms bringing the first cultivated steak and ribeye to market in 2018 and 2021, respectively. 

“One of the most impactful ways to combat the climate crisis is to transform our food system. Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms offer new ways to satisfy the world’s demand for beef, while solving some of the most pressing issues of current industrial beef production,” said DiCaprio. 

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