A record $435 million was invested in alternative protein fermentation companies in the first seven months of 2020, according to data by The Good Food Institute (GFI).
To date, GMI’s report shows that $837 million in venture capital has been invested in alternative protein fermentation companies globally. $274 million was invested in 2019, compared to $435 million this year, representing 85% of all-time funding in the sector. Both years represent record periods of investment, despite impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
GMI’s report, Fermentation: An introduction to a pillar of the alternative protein industry, claims to be the first industry report of its kind and analyses the role and potential of microbial fermentation as a third pillar of the alternative protein industry, alongside plant-based proteins and cultivated meat.
Fermentation refers to the use of microbes such as microalgae and mycoprotein that are used to produce protein biomass, improve plant proteins, and create paradigm-changing functional ingredients.
According to GMI, globally in 2019, fermentation companies raised 3.5 times more capital than cultivated meat companies worldwide and almost 60% as much as US plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies.
The report also highlighted an increase in players in the field over the last two years with 22 of the 44 fermentation companies being launched in 2019 and the first seven months of 2020, representing a 91% increase since 2018.
Investments in 2020 include Nature’s Fynd securing $80 million, followed by the fermentation industry’s largest ever raise, Perfect Day’s $300 million Series C round. Meanwhile, companies such as DuPont, Novozymes, and DSM are also developing fermentation-derived product lines and solutions tailored to the alternative protein industry.
Investors in the space include Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Temasek, Horizons Ventures, CPP Investment Board, Bunge Ventures, Kellogg, ADM Capital, Danone and Kraft Heinz.
“Fermentation is powering a new wave of alternative protein products with huge potential for improving flavour, sustainability, and production efficiency,” said GFI associate director of science and technology, Dr Liz Specht.
She added: “Investors and innovators are recognising this market potential, leading to a surge of activity in fermentation as an enabling platform for the alternative protein industry as a whole. And this is just the beginning: The opportunity landscape for technology development is completely untapped in this area.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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