Accelerating the alternative protein industry

Our work with global partners across the private sector advances the alternative protein industry and enables market breakthroughs. We analyze the market to identify key white spaces and emerging opportunities and provide actionable, open-source market data and consumer insights. We foster an idea-rich startup ecosystem and drive capital to scale the industry. We help guide incumbent food and meat manufacturers’ alternative protein strategy.

In short, we partner with companies throughout the supply chain to identify the most impactful business activities that will grow the bottom line and advance the next generation of alternative proteins to compete with conventional animal products on the key drivers of consumer choice: taste, price, and convenience.

Catalyzing innovation and investment

We build relationships with — and provide research and insights to — the world’s leading food and meat companies to catalyze innovation and commercialization of alternative protein products, including plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy. To inform capital providers of alternative protein opportunities, we analyze and present information on the market to a wide variety of institutions, including venture capital, private equity, family offices, banks, corporations, and investor groups. We also work with industry experts to identify, catalog, and analyze concrete white space ideas.

We provide startups with early-stage support, such as pitch deck reviews and strategic planning discussions, to help drive successful funding rounds. More than 1,300 entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists have joined our Good Food Ideas (GFIdeas) community to learn from food industry experts and make fruitful connections.

Making alternative proteins delicious and affordable

We work directly with manufacturers to identify key product opportunities, hone strategy, and accelerate the pace at which alternative protein products gain market share. We help manufacturers develop products that are as tasty, affordable, and accessible as conventional products.

Our market research highlights the rapid growth of plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy, and identifies key category opportunities. Our plant protein overview, technical guides, and company databases accelerate R&D, innovation, industry collaboration, product launch, and scaling. Our consumer insights identify current and potential consumers for alternative proteins and describe consumer motivations, adoption, perceptions, and barriers.

Expanding access & accelerating growth

We work with food retailers to identify and implement best practices for growing plant-based food sales, including strategies for assortment, own-brand product development, merchandising, and marketing. We’ve provided guidance to many of the top U.S. food retailers.

We advise executives and R&D teams at the top restaurant chains on increasing plant-based menu options and improving marketing and sales tactics. We’ve worked with influential foodservice distributors and many of the largest U.S. restaurant chains.

Areas of focus

Learn more about where GFI focuses and how we help companies up and down the supply chain.

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Investment

Connect with alternative protein startups who are fundraising. Also meet co-investors and understand the market and technical landscape alternative proteins.

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Entrepreneurship

Learn about planning, launching, and growing a startup — from white space identification to product development, fundraising, and commercialization.

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Manufacturing & production

Capitalize on the growing alternative protein market and accelerate the pace at which your plant-based products gain market share.

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Retail

Alternative proteins are a rapidly growing sales opportunity. Find strategies for product assortment, own-brand product development, merchandising, and marketing.

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Foodservice

Explore market data, ideas for developing exciting dishes, and marketing strategies for launching successful plant-based items in restaurant and non-commercial foodservice channels.

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Resource

Plant-based retail market overview

See an overview of U.S. retail sales data for plant-based meat, egg, and dairy products, including market size, growth, and purchase dynamics.

Recent webinars

European plant-based food market overview

GFI research analyst Kyle Gaan and ProVeg senior consumer research scientist Dr. Kai-Brit Bechtold discuss the European plant-based market.

Brazil plant-based food market overview

GFI research analyst Kyle Gaan and GFI Brazil corporate engagement coordinator Felipe Krelling summarize GFI’s Brazil Market Research Report, including high-level data on the Brazilian market, the competitive landscape, and market opportunities.

Fermentation 101

GFI startup growth specialist Nate Crosser and GFI director of science and technology Liz Specht explain the primary ways fermentation is used in alternative proteins, the competitive landscape, ingredient applications, investment trends, opportunities for innovation, and a regulatory primer.

Plant-based strategies for retail

Get an overview of leading plant-based assortment, merchandising, and marketing tactics at top U.S. retailers, with a special guest from Whole Foods Market.

Key resources

Technology and business landscape

Technology and business landscape

Take a deep dive into the key technologies, business developments, and scientific advances that are propelling the industries for plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived meat, eggs, and dairy.

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State of the Industry Report: Plant-Based Meat, Eggs, and Dairy

This analysis of the U.S. plant-based meat, egg, and dairy market covers sales data, investment analytics, consumer insights, and more.

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State of the Industry Report: Cultivated Meat

This global analysis of the cultivated meat industry covers investments, consumer insights, and scientific progress in this growing market sector.

Fermentation State of the Industry Report cover with vector graphic background

State of the Industry Report: Fermentation

This analysis of fermentation for alternative protein production covers science, entrepreneurship, policy, and industry investments.

Key market opportunities

Key market opportunities

Our solutions database offers up ideas with the potential to accelerate the growth of the alternative protein industry. Discover ideas for new commercial ventures and products, find inspiration for research projects, and explore ecosystem-level interventions to support the alternative protein industry as a whole.

  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Decision matrix for seafood target species selection

Creating an online, open-access decision matrix tool that ranks popular seafood-relevant species against each other based on several criteria such as market size, per-unit price, sustainability of conventional production practices,…

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  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Deal flow and fundraising platform for investors beyond the impact investment community

Investment platforms are needed for deal flow and coordinating hand-offs from pre-seed (angels and accelerators), seed/early-stage, and growth/later-stage investors and acquirers.

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Infrastructure and equipment leasing fund

Infrastructure leasing for production and processing facilities as well as capital equipment would enable alternative protein companies to rapidly expand capacity without large upfront capital investments. Having leasing funds and…

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Building workforce capacity through vocational programs

Creating vocational programs at technical community colleges that train the labor force to work in alternative protein biomanufacturing, facilities engineering, and operations will streamline the labor transition.

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Developing open-access model production facility blueprints

Open-access blueprints would provide a head start on facility design and allow equipment manufacturers and engineering companies to address standard industry needs.

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Infrastructure and equipment leasing fund

Infrastructure leasing for production and processing facilities as well as capital equipment would enable alternative protein companies to rapidly expand capacity without large upfront capital investments. Having leasing funds and…

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation

Growth factors from conditioned cell culture media

Rather than relying on recombinant growth factors, cultivated meat companies could use conditioned media from animal cells producing high levels of these molecules.

Read More
  • Plant-Based

Next-generation plant-based turkey products

There has been little in the way of publicly-announced R&D or commercial efforts to develop the next generation of tasty and affordable plant-based turkey products. There is room for innovation…

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  • Cultivated

Cultivated meat co-product valorization

Animal cell metabolism within cultivators can produce useful co-product side streams that provide monetary value to the manufacturer while creating a novel source of inputs for other industries. Potential side…

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Resources for increasing sales

Increasing sales

We work directly with foodservice providers and retailers to increase sales of plant-based foods by appealing to the largest consumer groups. Our resources include best practices for marketing, merchandising, assortment, and menu design.

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Consumer insights

Understand consumers, demographics, adoption, motivations, category descriptors, and opportunities for future research in alternative proteins.

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Merchandising plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy at retail

Discover the best practices in retail merchandising, aisle signage, and shelf tags for plant-based meat, egg, and dairy.

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Marketing and promoting plant-based proteins

This quick guide offers evidence-based marketing and promotion strategies to increase plant-based sales at retail.

Download
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Good Food Retail Report 2020

Learn plant-based sales strategies and see how the top 15 U.S. grocery retailers rate on their plant-based assortment, merchandising, and marketing.

Would you like tailored guidance on selling more plant-based foods?

Meet our experts

View all experts

Caroline Bushnell

DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT

Caroline Bushnell leads GFI’s Corporate Engagement team in their work with companies and investors around the world to accelerate the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: food industry, alternative protein ecosystem, market trends, consumer insights, CPG marketing, emerging industry opportunities.

Zak Weston

FOODSERVICE AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGER

Zak Weston works with manufacturers, suppliers, and upstream companies to scale innovation and infrastructure investment throughout the alternative protein supply chain.

Areas of expertise: supply chains, infrastructure, ingredients, foodservice, and contract manufacturing.

Jen Lamy

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD INITIATIVE MANAGER

Jen Lamy manages GFI’s cross-programmatic Sustainable Seafood Initiative to ensure that it proceeds strategically and with the input and involvement of key stakeholders.

Areas of expertise: alternative seafood, environmental policy, sustainable food systems, and strategic planning.

Image of Emma Ignaszewski

Emma Ignaszewski

CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT PROJECT MANAGER

Emma Ignaszewski manages projects to catalyze corporate innovation that will radically transform the food system and deliver alternative protein products that compete on the key drivers of consumer choice: taste, price, and convenience.

Areas of expertise: retail, strategy, marketing, communications.

Kyle Gaan

RESEARCH ANALYST

Kyle Gaan analyzes data and market research to identify meaningful insights and trends within the plant-based food industry.

Areas of expertise: consulting, market and consumer research, data analysis, video production.

Sharyn Murray

SENIOR INVESTOR ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST

Sharyn Murray crafts and executes strategies to increase investment in the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: relationship development, project management, investment research.

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Blake Byrne

BUSINESS INNOVATION SPECIALIST

Blake Byrne analyzes macro-level implications of scaling alt protein technologies. He also advises investors, corporations, and founders on entry points into the industry.

Areas of expertise: techno-economics, forecasts, white space advisory.

Maille O'Donnell headshot

Maille O’Donnell

CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT

Maille O’Donnell supports GFI’s Corporate Engagement team’s work to drive private sector support for alternative proteins.

Areas of expertise: environmental science and policy, blogging, fitness.

Marika Azoff

CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT SEAFOOD SPECIALIST

Marika leads GFI’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative work with startups, investors, conventional seafood companies and other key players in order to increase investment in and production and sale of alternative seafood products.

Areas of expertise: conservation, marine ecosystems, nonprofits, strategic partnerships.

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Sustainable Seafood Initiative

Seafood poses unique challenges across plant-based, cultivation, and fermentation technologies. GFI’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative provides targeted research and support with a laser focus on accelerating this sector.

Who we work with

We inform and empower companies at all stages of the supply chain:

  • Entrepreneurs and startups seeking to bring their ideas to market and fast-track growth.
  • Investors looking to capitalize on the rapidly growing alternative protein sector.
  • Manufacturers developing and marketing the next generation of alternative protein products.
  • Retailers and foodservice companies looking to leverage the growth of alternative proteins to increase sales and attract consumers. 
  • Ingredient companies creating the next generation of alternative protein ingredients and optimizing raw materials, inputs, and functional additives.
  • Suppliers creating the next generation of ingredients and inputs, processing services, and other enabling technologies.
  • Equipment manufacturers developing and commercializing equipment optimized for alternative protein production at scale.

Accelerating investment and innovation

  • Perdue worked with us to add plant proteins to their product line.
  • The co-founders of Netherlands-based Rival Foods, a producer of plant-based whole cuts, met via GFIdeas.
  • Our webinars cover commercial topics like debt financing, production scale-up, and e-commerce strategy.
  • Investors, food company leaders, and entrepreneurs learn about the market opportunity of alternative proteins at our events, like our 2020 Fermentation Symposium.

Making alternative proteins delicious and affordable

  • We inspired MorningStar Farms to make their entire product line fully plant-based by 2021.
  • We presented an in-depth overview of alternative proteins to 80 people attending a top U.S. meat company R&D symposium, which the organizers described as “the best session we’ve ever had.”
  • We helped another top U.S. meat company develop their alternative protein strategy. 

Expanding access and accelerating growth

  • Kroger worked with us to add a plant-based line to their Simple Truth line.
  • We supported several additional top-15 U.S. retailers across product innovation, business development, merchandising, and marketing activities.
  • We’ve worked with top-100 U.S. restaurant chains like Panera, Wawa, and The Cheesecake Factory.
“GFI is a thought-leader in this space. It’s an especially unique capability to present insights and translate into implication and action for Sales. Our teams were extremely engaged for this session and feedback was very positive. It instilled a deeper level of understanding and encouraged new ways of thinking as we continue to move forward in the plant-based category.”
— Gina Morris Tohme, Business Leader – Future of Food, Nestlé Professional USA
“GFI has been a great resource—both in helping us build relationships with partners in the plant-based space and in sharing broad retail market data that has informed our decisions.”
— Gil Phipps, Kroger
“Without GFI and the corporate engagement team, we would be two, three years behind. Hats off and thank you very much for being such an incredible part of our success.”
— Eric Christianson, Perdue Farms
“We are all very excited about moving forward and growing our product portfolio to include plant-based options. We are also optimistic about the potential of cultivated seafood product lines in the future and are encouraged to see firms innovating to solve the macro issues around feeding a growing population. You have a fantastic team at GFI and we look forward to continued discussions.”
— Jan Tharp, CEO of Bumble Bee Foods

Recent updates

Plant-based food retail sales reach $7 billion

The U.S. plant-based retail market grew at 27 percent over last year, almost two times greater than total retail food sales.

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New GFI initiative highlights key alt protein industry challenges and potential solutions

GFI’s Advancing Solutions for Alternative Proteins initiative aims to identify key challenges and high-impact solutions to accelerate the alternative protein industry.

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Record $3.1 billion invested in alt proteins in 2020 signals growing market momentum for sustainable proteins

In 2020, the alternative protein industry raised $3.1 billion in investments—more than in any single year in the industry’s history.

Top eight alternative protein trends to watch in 2021

GFI’s team of experts highlights eight top industry and product innovation trends in the alternative protein sector to watch for in 2021.

Upcoming events

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Fi Global Connect

Fi Global Connect will feature live sessions and exhibition booths from ingredient suppliers around the world.

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Virtual Event

Colorado Goes Plant-Based

Join the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Alt. Protein Project for a virtual panel with leaders in Colorado’s alternative protein industry.

The U.S. retail market for plant-based foods: The accelerated, sustainable growth of plant-based foods in 2020

This webinar will provide an overview of newly released sales data and insights for plant-based foods in the U.S. retail market, using custom plant-based categories created by the Good Food…

The Business of Alt Protein: Unlocking food safety in plant-based meat

In this webinar, you’ll hear food safety experts discuss challenges specific to alternative proteins, and demystify those challenges into actionable insights.

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Support our work

Our industry engagement is made possible thanks to our generous, global family of donors. Philanthropic support is vital to our mission. Connect with us today to discuss how you can help fuel this transformative work.

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