According to GFI, $3.1bn was invested in global alternative protein investments last year —three times the investment capital raised in 2019 — signalling growing momentum for sustainable alternatives. Of this total, two thirds ($2.1bn) was invested in plant-based meat, egg and 'dairy' analogue companies. GFI used the PitchBook Data platform to compile the figures, which were based on disclosed investment.
Based on the statistics, plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies raised $4.4bn in investments in the past decade (2010–2020). Nearly half, or $2.1bn, was raised in 2020 alone. This included Impossible Foods’ record $700m funding haul; Livekindly's $335m venture capital financing; Oatly’s $200m private equity and $78m debt financing; and Califia Farms’ $172m private equity financing.
Of the other alternative protein sectors, the next largest sum - $590m - was pumped into fermentation companies — double the amount raised in 2019.
Plant-based protein conference
GFI's Weston will present the global foodservice trends and opportunities associated with plant-based proteins at Food Manufacture's B2B conference The future of plant-based proteins: roots of further growth on 31 March.
Other speakers include representatives from Marks & Spencer, Tyson Foods, Meatless Farm, Mintel, Algenuity, Winterbotham Darby, Campden BRI and the British Nutrition Foundation. The conference is primarily aimed at operations managers, technical managers, new product development managers and senior business leaders within food and drink manufacturing businesses.
The event, which is sponsored by Loma Linda Tuno, Radicle and Roquette and supported by Cargill, Fimenich, Ingredion, Mane and Symrise begins at 0930 GMT and concludes at 1515. It is conveniently divided into five sessions examining different themes.
Session one examines global trends, session two looks at processing and production issues, session three covers supplier-retailer relations, session four tackles plant-based ingredients sourcing and functionality and session five focuses on nutrition. Each session features presentations and/or live Q&As. Networking sessions are held in between to allow delegates to make contact with each other.
Despite the hype, cultivated meat companies attracted only the third largest slice of the pie, said GFI — $360m in investments in 2020. However, this was still six times the funding poured into that area of the market in 2019.
“2020 was a breakout year for alternative proteins, with record investment flowing into all segments of the industry," said GFI director of corporate engagement Caroline Bushnell. "This is yet another signal of the significant potential the private sector sees in this rapidly growing global industry.
"While the amount is record-breaking, more investment is needed — from both the public and the private sectors — to meet the urgency of this moment. A large-scale shift toward alternative proteins will be critical to mitigating the environmental impact of food production, meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, and sustainably feeding a growing global population.”
Demand for plant-based products rose fast between 2015-2019, with new product launches featuring a plant-based claim increasing by a compound annual growth rate of 57% globally, according to ingredients supplier Ingredion.
Ingredion’s Europe, Middle East and Africa's (EMEA's) Planting possibilities: insights report explores the trends driving this growth, the impact of COVID-19 on consumers' eating habits and how manufacturers of alternative meat and dairy products can take advantage of opportunities.
'15% of millennials are meat-free'
Declan Rooney, strategic marketing manager, savoury and savoury alternatives for Ingredion EMEA, says: “15% of millennials are already meat-free and more consumers are changing their diets to become flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan.
"This trend has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people have become aware and taken a greater interest in the food they eat, how it affects their bodies and the environment they live in. The benefits of a plant-based diet are becoming increasingly more appealing to consumers for these reasons.
“However, for manufacturers of meat and dairy alternative products, there are some important considerations to ensure that their products are well-received and repurchased by consumers. For example, meat alternative products should include a good source of protein and good sensory experience, and dairy products should feature health claims that are most important to the customer, with ‘plant-based’, ‘vegan’ and ‘lactose free’ rated as the top claims."