New research has revealed some US$3.1bn was invested in alternative-protein food businesses globally in 2020, a new record.

The figure is three times the $1bn capital invested in this category in 2019 and four and a half times as much as the $694m raised in 2018

The data released by the Washington DC-based Good Food Institute (GFI) – a non-profit organisation which promotes plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs, as well as cultivated meat – suggests, it says, “growing momentum for sustainable alternatives”.
GFI added: “Amid the multiple social, environmental, and economic crises of 2020, the increase also signals a growing appetite for climate-friendly investments with returns beyond the bottom line.”  

The analysis claims to shos alternative protein companies have raised nearly $6bn in invested capital in the past decade with more than half of it being pumped in in 2020.

Of the money raised last year, plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies received $2.1bn in investments, including Impossible Foods‘ record $700m funding haul, which comprised a $500m Series F in March and a $200m Series G in August.

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Other notable investments include The Livekindly Collective’s $335m venture-capital funding, Oatly’s $200m private-equity and $78m debt financing and Califia Farms’ $225m from private-equity

Cultivated – or cell-based – meat companies, which produce meat in a lab without harming animals, received more than $360m in investments in 2020, which is six times the amount raised in 2019.

This included the first two Series B rounds in the nascent industry: Memphis Meats' $161m round and Mosa Meat's $75m round.

Fermentation companies devoted to alternative proteins received $590m in investments in 2020, which is more than double the amount raised in 2019. This included Perfect Day's $300m Series C funding round.

GFI senior investor engagement specialist Sharyn Murray said: "The investor community is waking up to the massive social and economic potential of food technology to radically remake our food system. 

"Early trend setters like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats, and Mosa Meat continue to perform well and there are more and more entrepreneurs who see the potential of alternative proteins to succeed in the marketplace while having a positive global impact on food sustainability and global health."