40Research opportunities
44Commercial whitespaces
39Ecosystem support needs
Key: Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based
Opportunity Production platform Value chain segment Technology sector End product focus Relevant actor
Building interdisciplinary university research centers of excellence

Interdisciplinary research is essential for tackling many of the complex problems facing today’s world. Though the number of research projects advancing alternative protein science has increased in recent years, this…

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based R&D Workforce Species-agnostic Academics Donors Industry NGO’s Policymakers Startups
Establishing student groups at key universities

Universities are epicenters for creative problem-solving and cutting-edge research advancements, and they can serve as engines for interdisciplinary innovation. However, this potential is not being tapped fully by the alternative…

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Demand Generation R&D Workforce Species-agnostic Academics Donors GFI NGO’s
Species-specific research toolkits for cultivated meat-relevant species

Coordinated efforts to develop standardized, comprehensive research toolkits of meat-relevant species would exponentially accelerate cultivated meat research.

Cultivated icon Cultivated Compliance R&D Cell culture media Cell line development End product formulation & manufacturing Seafood-relevant Academics GFI Industry NGO’s Startups
Development and industry-wide adoption of standards for meat characterization

A more comprehensive understanding of the processes, structures, and molecular constituents governing meat’s organoleptic properties will inform the production of alternative proteins.

Cultivated icon Cultivated End Products R&D End product formulation & manufacturing Seafood-relevant Academics GFI NGO’s Startups
Landscape/directory of major players in foodservice, retail, and distribution

Resources and services that make it easier to locate, filter, and prioritize sales and partnership efforts would ease transactional burdens for startups and add value to existing companies looking for…

Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Distribution Channels Species-agnostic GFI Industry NGO’s
Industry workshops, courses, and training programs

The alternative protein industry has a significant need for workers and innovators with specialized knowledge spanning multiple traditional disciplines. However, since few universities offer alternative protein majors or dedicated subject…

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Business Services Compliance Production R&D Workforce Species-agnostic Academics Industry NGO’s
Directory of contract manufacturers for plant-based production, fermentation, and animal cell culture

The alt protein industry would benefit from an open-access directory of co-manufacturers interested in producing alternative proteins, their equipment and capabilities.

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Production End product formulation & manufacturing Species-agnostic GFI Industry NGO’s
Database of facility engineering, design, and construction firms

Dedicated brokers, consultants, directories, and other matching mechanisms could help connect alternative protein companies to engineering/design/construction firms with relevant experience and interest in the alternative protein sector.

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Production Bioprocess design Species-agnostic GFI Industry NGO’s Startups
Data lake for aggregating process data and informing process improvements

An alternative protein data lake could contain anonymized data from processing runs across many manufacturers, informing processing improvements and aiding process failure troubleshooting.

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Business Services Production R&D Species-agnostic Academics GFI Industry NGO’s Startups
Pooled procurement/group purchasing for ingredients and inputs

Many alternative protein companies use similar inputs, but individually lack the purchasing power to negotiate favorable contract terms. A pooled procurement/group purchasing mechanism for ingredients, inputs (growth factors, media, etc.),…

Cultivated icon Cultivated Fermentation icon Fermentation Plant-based icon Plant-Based Business Services Raw Materials, Ingredients, & Inputs Cell culture media Crop development Feedstocks Species-agnostic Industry NGO’s Startups

Get involved

If you’d like to fund a research project, work on any of these solutions, share information about related efforts that are already underway, or elevate new ideas for advancing the alternative protein industry, we’d love to hear from you!

Swinging lit lightbulb graphic representing gfi's innovation priorities

Explore key innovation priorities

Review commercial whitespaces, research gaps, technological needs, and investment priorities at each stage of the alternative protein value chain.

How we built this

Advancing solutions for alternative proteins executive summary icon

Executive summary

Get an overview of GFI’s Solutions initiative and a summary of key resources.

Advancing solutions for alternative proteins full report icon

Full report

Delve into the full report on the motivation, methodology, rationale, and key findings and recommendations of the Solutions initiative.

Advancing solutions for alternative proteins future wheels analysis icon

Futures wheels analysis

Explore our framework for uncovering second-order or third-order consequences and implications of hypothetical future scenarios to support better decision-making in the present.

Advancing solutions for alternative proteins future-proofing report icon

Future-proofing

Discover key findings from GFI’s premortem analysis of potential threats to the widespread adoption of alternative proteins, including strategies to avoid or mitigate the most pressing risks.