Venture investments in alternative protein companies have almost doubled in 2020, according to investor network Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR). In just the first seven months of the year, $1.1 billion was invested in plant-based meat alternatives compared to $457 million last year. Investment in cultured meat has been almost three times greater than in 2019.
Following the huge success of Beyond Meat, investors have high expectations for alt-meat startups and are investing in a range of companies. Well-established brands such as Impossible Foods, Oatly, and Memphis Meats are still receiving the most funding. However, there are some less well-known players such as Nature’s Fynd, which makes protein from volcanic microbes. The company recently raised $80 million.
A range of investors are providing funding to companies in this sector, from venture capital companies and pension funds to individuals and major food brands.
Already a fast-growing industry, sales of meat alternatives have boomed still further in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many consumers are concerned about the link between meat processing and the virus.
However, this doesn’t necessarily make alt-meat companies a safe investment. There are many competing startups, and not all will go on to be the next Beyond Meat.
“At the end of the day to reach scale in this space, you have to deliver something that is as tasty as meat to get consumers to switch,” Marisa Drew of Credit Suisse Group told Bloomberg International.