The global fermentation industry focused on animal-free alternatives to conventional proteins continued to break new ground in 2022. Scientific advances, new products and prototypes, manufacturing facilities, and partnerships brought the world more meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy made via microorganisms—a nature-inspired technology primed to transform the future of food.
- New industry alliances and partnerships
- Product development trends
- Distribution progress
- Research updates
- Public support and regulation
- An analysis of industry forecasts
The State of the Industry Report: Fermentation includes notable news and research across the business, science, and policy of using fermentation for alternative proteins. Highlights featured in the report include:
New alliances, partnerships, and capacity-building
- In 2022, a group of 12 companies and two nonprofits cofounded the new Fungi Protein Association, a milestone for the industry in advancing fair policies and consumer research.
- In early 2023, nine precision fermentation companies cofounded the Precision Fermentation Alliance, which will focus on regulatory engagement and consumer messaging.
- In 2022, 21 new partnerships focused on end products and bioprocess scaling.
- The number of companies focused on fermentation for alternative proteins rose to 136. There are now companies focused on fermentation for alternative proteins in 30 countries and every major world region.
- At least 100 additional companies have involvement in alternative protein fermentation, including major food companies such as Nestlé, Unilever, and Bel Group.
All-time investment reaches $3.69 billion
- Fermentation companies raised $842 million in 2022, bringing all-time investment to $3.69 billion.
- Fermentation companies closed 89 deals in 2022, bringing all-time deals to 301.
- To date, the fermentation industry has seen 23 growth-stage (Series B or higher) deals, five of which took place in 2022.
- The number of unique investors grew by 38% in 2022 to reach 713 investors in total (since 2013).
Science and technology
Understanding grows on environmental and social benefits, and open-source databases lift all boats
- Six different teams of researchers published findings on using side streams as feedstock for microbial fermentation, further documenting alternative proteins’ role in circular economies.
- Researchers found that replacing just 20% of per-capita beef consumption with microbial protein from sugar-fed fermentation by 2050 would be sufficient to reduce expected deforestation and related emissions by 50%.
- The DSMZ culture collection published Mediadive, an open-source database to help researchers bioprospect novel strains for use in microbial fermentation.
- Synonym Bio published Capacitor, a free online database of global biomanufacturing facilities.
Government and regulation
Governments fund fermentation infrastructure
- Europe funneled more than $155MM into cellular agriculture research and commercialization, including microbial fermentation and cultivated foods. The Netherlands announced a record-breaking $64MM investment in cell agriculture and the completion of one of the world’s largest protein facilities, supported by public and private funding.
- The United States supported cellular agriculture at the federal and state levels, including $5.5MM for alt protein research through USDA and a state-level tax credit to support Perfect Day’s construction of a precision fermentation facility in Salt Lake City.
- The UAE supported the construction of a precision fermentation facility in Abu Dhabi, to be operated by U.S.-based Change Foods. The facility will create casein, the key protein in cheese, using 1/10th of the water and 1/5th of the energy required by conventional dairy production.
- The Israel Innovation Authority issued a NIS 50MM ($14.4MM) request for proposals for precision fermentation infrastructure, designed to enable multiple companies to share R&D facilities.
Get fresh insights sent to your inbox!
The Alternative Protein Opportunity is a tool for food industry insiders and includes sales, consumer, and investment data as well as distribution and policy updates and other timely insights. This newsletter is sent monthly. You’ll also receive bulletins about events, resources, and reports from GFI’s experts.
"*" indicates required fields
Hear from our experts
Our webinar covers the fermentation commercial landscape, investments, science and technology progress, regulation and public funding, and industry forecasts.
Find companies focused on fermentation
These companies focus primarily on fermentation for alternative proteins. This list is intended to be as comprehensive as possible, but should not be considered exhaustive. You can learn more about these companies in our company database. Are we missing something? Let us know by filling out our company database edits form.
Download our at-a-glance summary
Don’t have time to read the full report? Check out our summary for a quick view of the highlights and key data points from our 2022 State of the Industry report for fermentation.
Meet the authors
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: project management, environmental science and policy, writing, alternative protein commercial landscape
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS
Sheila Voss oversees GFI’s strategic awareness and action campaigns, data-driven storytelling, and communications-related partnerships.
Areas of expertise: plant science and sustainability, agricultural education, biodiversity and climate change messaging.
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.