A record $3.1 billion (€2.6 billion) was invested in 2020 in companies creating alternative proteins such as plant-based and cell-cultured meat, seafood and other products, according to a new report from The Good Food Institute (GFI).
Plant-based and cell-cultured seafood companies raised more than $80 million (€67.2 million) in 2020, four times the amount raised in 2019. This represents 66 percent of the capital raised by alternative seafood companies since GFI began tracking investments in 2015, the group said.
Last year also saw the first Series B round among dedicated alternative seafood companies, with plant-based seafood company Good Catch raising a $37 million (€31.1 million) in a series B round. Three cell-cultured seafood companies raised Series A rounds in 2020. BlueNalu raised a $60 million (€50.4 million) convertible debt round in January of 2021, a record-sized deal among alternative seafood companies, GFI said.
The surge in capital investment in the overall alternative-protein space was three times the $667 million (€561 million) companies raised in 2019, and 4.5 times more than the amount raised in 2018, according to GFI. Of the $5.9 billion (€4.9 billion) raised by alternative protein companies over the past decade, more than half was received in 2020 alone.
Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies received $2.1 billion (€1.8 billion) in investments in 2020—the most capital raised in any single year in the industry’s history. These companies have raised $4.4 billion (€3.7 billion) in investments in the past decade (2010–2020).
Cultivated meat companies received more than $360 million (€303 million) in investments in 2020, six times the amount raised in 2019.
Fermentation companies devoted to alternative proteins received $590 million (€496 million) in investments in 2020, more than double the amount raised in 2019. Fermentation firms use microorganism such as bacteria, yeast or fungi to make proteins from which they derive milk and other alternative-protein products.
“The investor community is waking up to the massive social and economic potential of food technology to radically remake our food system,” said GFI senior investor engagement specialist Sharyn Murray.
“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.”