Executive summary 

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.  

136total fermentation companies were focused exclusively or predominantly on alternative proteins by the end of 2022
$3.9 billionall-time investment in companies focused on fermentation for alternative proteins
$842 millioninvested in 2022 in companies focused on fermentation for alternative proteins

Report highlights

  • New industry alliances and partnerships
  • Facilities
  • Product development trends
  • Distribution progress
  • Research updates
  • Public support and regulation
  • An analysis of industry forecasts

Key developments

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:

Commercial landscape

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

Please select which of these groups you belong to so we can tailor the resources you receive from GFI (select all that apply).*

You may unsubscribe or change your email preferences at any time.

GFI respects your privacy. Please refer to our Privacy Notice to learn more about how we store and process your information.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

Resources icon

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

View All Experts

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

Maille O’Donnell


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

Sheila voss

Sheila Voss


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

Sharyn Murray, CFA


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.

Daniel gertner

Daniel Gertner


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

Areas of expertise: research and analysis, economics

Adam leman

Adam Leman, Ph.D.


Adam is focused on engineering a new paradigm in food production.

Areas of expertise: microbial fermentation, precision fermentation, molecular biology

Lucas eastham

Lucas Eastham


Lucas Eastham is focused on analyzing fermentation technologies, and progressing their applications in the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: microbial biotechnology, upstream strain and process development, downstream process development, bioprocess product commercialization

Madeline cohen

Madeline Cohen


Madeline Cohen works on regulatory and policy issues affecting cultivated meat and plant-based foods.

Areas of expertise: regulatory landscape, domestic policy, and litigation

Michael carter

Michael Carter


Michael supports the Policy team by providing original writing and analysis in support of alternative protein development and deployment.

Areas of expertise: research and analysis, content creation, electoral politics

Image of emma ignaszewski

Emma Ignaszewski


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.

Ben pierce

Ben Pierce


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

Liz fathman

Liz Fathman


Liz leads the editorial and engagement team within Comms to steward and strengthen GFI’s owned and social channels, earned media work, and events and community engagement.

Areas of expertise: strategic communications, content creation and storytelling, publishing, ethnography, small-scale agriculture, regional food production

Fermented meat by meati


The science of fermentation

Learn about the emerging role of microbial fermentation in building the next generation of alternative protein products.

Food technology cover image of an illustrated boat on water

Formulating with animal-free ingredients

GFI scientists explain how ingredients derived from plants and fermentation can be used to create animal-free meat, egg, and dairy alternatives.

Plant-based meat with zucchini

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…

Packaging facility interior with a conveyor belt

Contract Manufacturing Database

Use this directory to find co-manufacturers, pilot plants, co-packers, private labelers, and contract manufacturing consultants for alt proteins.

A shopper compares plant-based meat products in a supermarket aisle

Alternative protein company database

Explore the landscape of plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation companies including consumer brands, manufacturers, and ingredients companies.

Download this report in Japanese. Looking for previous State of the Industry Reports? Download reports from 2019, 2020, and 2021.