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 inform incumbent food and meat manufacturers’ alternative protein strategy by sharing industry insights and data.

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 admission to the GFI Fundraising Database. 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

People shaking hands during a business meeting

Investment

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

Server holding a tray of appetizers from a gfi brazil investment event

Entrepreneurship

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

Female researcher in an indoor growing facility kneeling in front of rows of crops

Manufacturing & production

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

Closeup up of shopper’s hand on the handle of a grocery store cart

Retail

Find strategies for product assortment, own-brand product development, merchandising, and marketing.

Blurry restaurant and bar scene

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.

Key resources

A report icon in the foreground with an illustrative background

Page

State of the Industry Reports

Explore our comprehensive State of the Industry Reports, which provide insights into the rapidly evolving alternative protein landscape.

Spins graphic

Page

Plant-based retail market overview

Explore sales data for plant-based meat, egg, and dairy products in the U.S. retail market. Find key category insights, size, sales growth, and purchase dynamics for the plant-based industry.

Photo of sunset over a field

Page

Environmental, Social, and Governance framework

GFI & FAIRR’s ESG frameworks supply investors and companies in the alternative proteins industry with tools to monitor, measure, and report on risks and opportunities.

A photo of three people working

Resource

Mentor program

Our GFI Mentor Program enables entrepreneurs and startups to have 1:1 mentoring sessions with subject matter experts across the alternative protein ecosystem.

Technology and business landscape

Technology and business landscape

Our State of the Industry reports offer 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.

The cover of the 2023 state of the industry report on plant-based meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy by the good food institute

State of the Industry Report: Plant-based meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy

This report details the commercial landscape, sales, investments, innovation trends, regulatory developments, and public funding in the plant-based meat, seafood, egg, and dairy industry.

The cover of the 2023 state of the industry report on cultivated meat and seafood by the good food institute

State of the Industry Report: Cultivated meat

This report details the commercial landscape, investments, regulatory developments, and scientific progress in the cultivated meat and seafood industry.

The cover of the 2023 state of the industry report on fermentation-enabled meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy produced by the good food institute.

State of the Industry Report: Fermentation

This report details the commercial landscape, investments, regulatory developments, and scientific progress in the fermentation for alternative proteins industry.

Gfi22014 pmf report featured image

Plant molecular farming fact sheet

Plant molecular farming enables the production of animal proteins in plants. Learn more about this innovative technique in our latest fact sheet.

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 icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon 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,…

Read more
  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon 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 icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon 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 icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon Plant-Based

Building workforce capacity through vocational programs

Given the strong and persistent growth in alternative protein production, the industry has a pressing need for a trained workforce. Technical colleges should establish programs to help train the next…

Read more
  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon 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 icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon 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 icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon 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 icon 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…

Read more
  • Cultivated icon 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…

Read more
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.

Close up of a grocery cart being pushed down an aisle

Consumer insights

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

Grocery store scene with a person holding a shopping basket while browsing the refrigerated section

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.

Assorted plant-based and cow-based dairy products in a supermarket display

Marketing and promoting plant-based proteins

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

Good food retail report cover image

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 to meet with our Corporate Engagement team to learn more about the alternative protein industry?

Illustration showing team members working together to solve problems

Need corporate support?

We work with the private sector to drive investment, innovation, and scalability to accelerate the alternative protein supply chain. Learn more about how we can support you in this process. 

Industry icon

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.
Hand holding seedling icon

We help accelerate 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 Good Food Conference.
Hot dog icon

We help make alternative proteins delicious and affordable

  • 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’ve helped top U.S. meat companies develop their alternative protein strategies by sharing resources and industry insights.
Cart with up arrow icon

We help expand access and increase growth

  • Kroger worked with us to add a plant-based line to their Simple Truth private label product line.
  • We’ve 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.

Meet our experts

View all experts

Caroline bushnell

Caroline Bushnell

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, 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.

Image of emma ignaszewski

Emma Ignaszewski

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE & INITIATIVES

Emma Ignaszewski oversees the corporate engagement team’s industry intelligence and initiatives 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: alternative protein market landscape, research & analysis, strategy, marketing & communications, alt protein sustainability & climate impacts.

Sharyn murray, cfa

Sharyn Murray, CFA

INVESTOR ENGAGEMENT MANAGER

Sharyn Murray crafts and executes strategies to support investors’ exploration of and investment in the alternative protein industry.

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

Laura clark

Laine Clark

SENIOR CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT MANAGER, INNOVATION

Laine serves as Senior Corporate Engagement Manager, Innovation, helping to position GFI as a valuable resource for emerging and established alternative protein companies.

Areas of expertise: entrepreneurship, fundraising, commercialization, strategic planning, team building, and market validation

Https://gfi. Org/wp content/uploads/2021/01/maille headshot 640x800

Maille O’Donnell

SENIOR POLICY SPECIALIST, PUBLIC INVESTMENT AND INDUSTRY

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

Marika azoff

Marika Azoff

CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT LEAD – RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICE

Marika leads GFI’s work with foodservice operators, retailers, and distributors to inspire and accelerate their shift toward alternative proteins.

Areas of expertise: foodservice, retail, distribution, alternative seafood, relationship development, public speaking

Ben pierce

Ben Pierce

RESEARCH ANALYST

Ben supports GFI’s Corporate Engagement team as a Research Analyst, working to develop data-driven insights within the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: CPG sales/marketing, market trends, consumer & category insights, data analysis, project management

Daniel gertner

Daniel Gertner

BUSINESS ANALYST

Daniel identifies market opportunities and analyzes the alternative protein industry landscape.

Areas of expertise: research and analysis, economics

Audrey spence

Audrey Spence

GFI ALUM

Taylor leet-otley

Taylor Leet-Otley

CONSUMER RESEARCH LEAD

Taylor Leet-Otley oversees GFI’s consumer research, keeping the organization and the industry in touch with consumers’ needs & beliefs in the fast-moving alternative protein category.

Areas of Expertise: Consumer insights, market strategy, branding & marketing

Nestle logo black 1
“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
Kroger logo 1
“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
Perdue logo 1
“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
Bumble bee foods logo
“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

2023 state of the industry reports

Challenges and breakthroughs: contextualizing alternative protein progress

It was a difficult year for alternative proteins in 2023, but progress in farm fields, research labs, manufacturing facilities, and government forums tells a story of persistence and innovation.

A plate of rice, broccoli, and meati cutlets.  image courtsey of meati foods.

Expo West unveils cutting-edge alternative protein innovations

Explore how alt proteins are showing up at the food industry’s biggest week of the year.

A hand holds soil with a plant sprouting against a green illustrative graph background

Taking the long view on alternative protein financing

Our experts weigh in on the state of alternative protein funding and the opportunity for creative financing in the sector.

An illustration of 2024 and people working

9 thought leaders reflect on what alternative protein trends to look forward to this year

There are exciting milestones and innovations on the horizon for alternative proteins. Our experts reflect on what may be in store for 2024.

Upcoming events

Https://gfi. Org/wp content/uploads/2024/04/sci24024 webinar graphics science of alt protein april header featured
Virtual Event

The Science of Alt Protein: Development of induced pluripotent stem cell lines from animal models

Join Dr. Fabiana Bressan to explore the applications of stem cell biology and the generation of iPSCs for cultivated meat production.

An illustration of the globe with two hands reaching towards one another.  third party event featured image.
The Clift Royal Sonesta San Francisco

Alternative Fats & Oils Summit

Create a roadmap for your alternative fat strategy by weighing the potential of different alternative fats in various end products, including meat analogues, dairy, and seafood.

An illustration of the globe with two hands reaching towards one another.  third party event featured image.

The Future of Protein Production Chicago

Join Laine Clark, GFI senior corporate engagement manager – innovation, for a presentation on non-dilutive funding.

A graphic illustration of people looking at literature about alt proteins
Virtual Event

Alt Protein Pipelines: Rethinking curriculum design with a startup mindset

Discover how university course offerings are evolving to meet the increasing demand for trained professionals in the alternative protein field. Join us to learn from a pioneering team shaping innovative…

Get updates in your inbox

Our monthly industry newsletter includes the latest market and consumer research, policy updates, highlighted resources from GFI and our partners, and upcoming events and opportunities.

Close up top view of young people putting their hands together

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.