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.

Key resources

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Fermentation

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

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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.

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State of the Industry Report: Alternative seafood

Our report explores the global alternative seafood industry’s commercial landscape and shares the latest on investments, sales data, and consumer insights.

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.

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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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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
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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…

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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…

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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.

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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
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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.

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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 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.

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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?

Recent webinars

Check out our most recent webinars where we share alternative protein industry insights.

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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. 

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.

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 2020 Fermentation Symposium.

We help make 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. 

We help expand access and increase 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.

Meet our experts

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Caroline bushnell

Caroline Bushnell

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.

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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

INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP MANAGER

Laine serves as an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager, helping to position GFI as a valuable resource for emerging companies in the alternative proteins sector as they launch and scale.

Areas of Expertise: entrepreneurship, strategic planning, team building, market validation, mentorship

Karen formanski

Karen Formanski

CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS MANAGER

Karen Formanski develops data-driven insights to accelerate the alternative proteins industry.

Areas of expertise: research and analysis projects, consumer insights, market trends

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 gyr

Audrey Gyr

STARTUP INNOVATION SPECIALIST

Audrey Gyr serves as GFI’s Startup Innovation Specialist, supporting entrepreneurs and startups in the alternative protein sector and building open-access tools for the industry.

Areas of Expertise: Community building, event and project management, fundraising, strategic communications

Marika azoff

Marika Azoff

SENIOR CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST

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

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Maille O’Donnell

CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT PROJECT MANAGER

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, writing.

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“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
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“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
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“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
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“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

Alt proteins are the key to solving our planet's most pressing challenges; biodiversity, climate change, global health, and food security.

Let’s solve it together: The X-factor impact of alt proteins on the biggest challenges of our time

Inspiring organizations and individuals around the world are reducing emissions, saving lands and waters, protecting public health, and increasing food security. Yet threats still mount. Alt proteins are essential for…

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The top 7 alternative protein trends fueling optimism in 2023

The alternative protein industry today shows signs of resilience despite challenges across the macroeconomic landscape, geopolitical dynamics, and talent, funding, and infrastructure constraints. GFI experts predict the industry trends that…

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Our top 22 of 2022

GFI’s community of supporters sparked unprecedented innovation and growth for the alternative protein ecosystem in 2022—check out our highlights from the past year.

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Why did the cultivated chicken cross the road? Because it had the green light

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the go-ahead to a cultivated meat product for the first time, prompting questions about this novel production method and the future of meat.…

Upcoming events

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Virtual Event

Science of alt protein: Production of animal fat substitutes by yeasts

Join our next Science of Alt Protein seminar where Dr. Kyria Boundy-Mills of UC Davis will share her research on yeasts that convert inexpensive substrates into oils, including substitutes for…

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Virtual Event

Apply to join the Alt Protein Project

Applications to join the Alt Protein Project are now live! Attend our information sessions for students interested in bringing the alternative protein movement to their university.

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Meat Evolution (MEVO) Summit

The 2023 MEVO Summit will focus on global alt protein regulatory developments, highlighting new markets, opportunities, and innovation.

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Virtual Event

GFIdeas cultivated meat networking mixer

Join us for a networking event focused on the cultivated meat industry!

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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.

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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.