GFI’s symposium highlights fermentation’s critical role in the alternative protein industry

How do we feed 10 billion people by 2050? Fermentation provides a promising solution. That’s why GFI held the first virtual Symposium on Fermentation, connecting experts and industry players to help make the future of fermentation a reality.
Plant-based meat with zucchini

How do we feed 10 billion people by 2050? Fermentation provides a promising solution.

Fermentation—the cultivation of a microbial species to produce or transform a food product or ingredient—has the potential for greater scale, lower cost, improved efficiency, and enhanced sustainability than animal agriculture.

Fermentation can be harnessed to produce both primary protein sources and enablers for plant-based and cultivated meat, eggs, and dairy. It’s already being used across the alternative protein industry—from Quorn’s signature mycoprotein meat products to Perfect Day’s ice cream to Impossible’s signature heme iron ingredient—and will only expand as companies seek to improve the texture, flavor, and functionality of alternative protein products.

The Good Food Institute recently held the first virtual Symposium on Fermentation as it relates to alternative proteins with live attendees from around the world. We were able to offer this event free of charge by virtue of the generosity of our donor community. Now you can watch the expert panels and learn about the opportunities, challenges, and enormous potential for the fermentation space.

The fermentation industry is nascent, but rapidly growing.

The first half of the day focused on the fermentation space broadly, including Fermentation 101, fermentation as the ultimate sustainability solution, and ingredient applications.

Key highlights included:

Fermentation is versatile, producing flavorings, ingredients, and whole products.

The final three sessions featured experts in each of the three main fermentation segments: traditional fermentation (transforming a food product), precision fermentation (producing high-value ingredients such as proteins or flavorings), and biomass fermentation (producing protein-rich biomass to be used as a primary ingredient).

Key highlights included:

Fermentation offers immense potential to realize a sustainable and efficient protein production system. To help achieve that potential, GFI aims to connect experts and industry players to leverage insights and facilitate the partnerships that will scale up the industry. The 2020 Symposium on Fermentation brought together some of the key stakeholders to help make the future of fermentation a reality.

Watch the 2020 Symposium on Fermentation, and for an in-depth analysis of the state of the fermentation industry, download the 2020 Fermentation State of the Industry Report.


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Maille O’Donnell works to embolden public support for alternative protein commercialization and ensure that agency funders and industry stakeholders have access to accurate information about the alternative protein industry and public resource landscape. Areas of expertise: Alternative protein commercial landscape, environmental science and policy, project management