The Good Food Institute (GFI) has released its authoritative State of the Industry annual reports covering the plant-based, cellular agriculture and fermentation sectors with revealing results. The reports show that 2020 was the biggest year to date for sustainable protein company launches, private investments, and retail sales, confirming 2020 as a “record period of investment” for alt protein.
The GFI State of the Industry reports are deep dives into the key technologies, business developments, and scientific advances driving the industries, and the 2020 reports show Western Europe to be the largest regional market for plant-based meat at $1.8 billion, making up 43% of the global plant-based meat market. Additionally, global retail sales of plant-based meat hit record highs in 2020, reaching $4.2 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2019. $2.2 billion was raised by US plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies in 2020 – over 3X more than 2019.
The reports also identified 23 new cell-cultured meat companies launching in 2020 – an increase of 43% YOY, and 13 new companies dedicated to using fermentation to make meat, eggs, dairy and seafood – 34% more than 2019. $366M was raised by cultivated meat companies in 2020 – 6X more than 219, and $587M was invested in fermentation companies in 2020 alone – more than half of the all-time investment in the segment.
Although YOY growth continues to trend upwards, the reports hammer home the need for public-sector investment, echoing the views of Ezra Klein in his recent New York Times column. 2020 did see the first substantial public-sector R&D funding in both the US and the EU, including BioTech Foods‘ $3.2 million grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, but the GFI warns that the alt protein market will remain a fraction of the overall market unless governments fund open-access R&D similar to other climate-friendly innovations.
“The impressive slate of plant-based product releases, company launches, investments, science and technology innovations, and labeling wins in 2020 signals another year of continued growth and momentum ahead and brings us closer to realizing a world where alternative proteins are no longer alternative.
While 2020 was a record-breaking year for plant-based proteins, more investment is needed – from both the public and the private sectors – to mitigate the environmental impact of conventional protein production, meet global climate goals, and sustainably feed a growing population,” states the report, which is available for download here.