Investments & Finance

US Government Amplifies Support for Alternative Protein Industry with New Funding Initiatives

The United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO) has officially released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), unveiling a $83 million funding opportunity designed to target emissions reduction in the industrial sector, with a significant focus on the alternative protein industry.

The IEDO’s announcement highlights its intention to support 3-8 proposals in the Food and Beverage industry, offering awards ranging from $500,000 to $7 million. In December 2023, The Good Food Institute hosted a webinar with the IEDO to discuss how this funding opportunity specifically earmarks a portion for the decarbonization of alternative protein production, recognizing the sector’s potential to contribute to a more sustainable and climate-friendly food system.

“Innovations in alternative protein products and processing is needed to drive down emissions in this growing space”

The department has identified alternative protein production, including plant-based, precision fermented, and cell-cultivated products, as a critical area for emissions reduction. The funding aims to foster innovations that cost-effectively reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across various manufacturing and processing stages, such as evaporation, pasteurization, extrusions, and fermentation. The FOA notes that all proposed innovations must be directly related to the manufacturing and processing of alternative proteins or their respective ingredients.

Cows/ cattle
Courtesy of ProVeg International

The DOE states, “Industrialized animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Alternative proteins strongly outperform conventional meat for several environmental impact factors and have the potential for significant decarbonization of F&B industrial sector. Innovation in alternative protein products and processing is needed to drive down emissions in this growing space.”

Expanding government support

Adding to the momentum, the recently introduced Department of Defense’s Distributed Bioindustrial Manufacturing Investment Program (DBMIP) introduces another avenue of support for the alternative protein and food technology industry. This program is designed to strengthen domestic supply chains and improve the quality of food products for military personnel, offering a new funding opportunity for food tech companies, including those in the alternative protein space.

These government-led initiatives represent a multifaceted approach to supporting the alternative protein industry, acknowledging its role in achieving environmental goals and enhancing food security. For companies in the sector, this presents a unique opportunity to access funding that can help accelerate innovation and scale up production processes, supporting the government’s goal to “deliver an equitable, clean energy future and put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050.”

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