What are alternative proteins?

Explore these resources for a general overview of the growing fields of plant-based meat, cultivated meat, and fermentation as well as our favorite resources. Given how essential alternative proteins are to a global protein transition, the term itself needs to be universally understood, on the tip of more tongues, and at the top of more agendas. Learn how alternative proteins are defined.

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GFI Executive Director and 2019 TED Fellow Bruce Friedrich discusses how plant-based and cultivated meat can solve some of our most pressing global challenges.

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Making Sense with Sam Harris: Food, climate & pandemic risk

GFIers Dr. Liz Specht & Bruce Friedrich join Sam Harris for a discussion of GFI, food, climate, antibiotic resistance, and pandemic risk.

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Modernizing meat production will help us avoid pandemics

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht explains how the Covid-19 outbreak stresses the need to change how we make meat.

Homemade plant-based burger with sweet potato fries

Meat by the molecule: Making meat with plants and cells (The Biochemist)

This article from The Biochemist provides a high-level overview of plant-based and cultivated meat.

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Nerds over cattle: How food technology will save the world

GFI’s Bruce Friedrich discusses the problems caused by our current method of producing meat and how plant-based and cultivated meat will address each of those issues.

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Cultivated meat

This is your guide to cultivated meat. Explore our tools, resources, and expert analysis of the cultivated meat industry.

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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.

A battered and fried cultured meat, a cultured chicken cutlet, plated with sauteed greens and mashed root vegetables | image courtesy of upside foods

The science of cultivated meat

Learn about the science of cultivated meat and the challenges that must be addressed for commercial production.

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Cultivated meat 101 (video)

Learn about the history of cultivated meat and how cultivated meat is made.

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Is in vitro meat the new in vitro fertilization?

GFI’s Bruce Friedrich explores the history of society’s opposition and then adoption of new technologies, as well as reasons to expect many consumers to embrace cultivated meat.

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Is the future of meat animal free?

In the cover story for Institute of Food Technologies’ January 2018 Issue, GFI scitech director Dr. Liz Specht discusses cultivated meat.

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Growing meat sustainably: The cultivated meat revolution

This fact sheet lays out the sustainability advantages of cultivated meat production at scale compared to conventional animal agriculture.

Close up view of a woman holding a delicious plant-based burger in her hands


Plant-based meat

This is your guide to plant-based meat. Explore our tools, resources, and expert analysis of this field, from science to policy and markets.

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

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

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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.

A closeup view of a plated plant-based burger with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles

The science of plant-based meat

Learn about the science of plant-based meat. Discover resources and research on the latest technological developments and key scientific questions.

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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.

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Plant-based meat for a growing world

This fact sheet explains the comparative environmental advantage of producing meat directly from plants.

Sliced grilled fungi-based steak on a bed of greens and vegetables, by meati foods



This is your guide to precision fermentation and whole biomass fermentation for alt protein production. Find resources, tools, and expert industry analysis here.

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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.

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Precision fermentation and cellular agriculture

Learn how cellular agriculture makes it possible to produce genuine animal protein through microbial precision fermentation.

Fermentation industry leaders discuss biomass fermentation at gfi’s online fermentation symposium

Fermentation 101 (video)

Learn about the three primary ways that fermentation can be used for alt proteins: traditional, biomass, and precision.

Screenshot from the whole biomass fermentation panel at gfi’s fermentation symposium

Whole biomass fermentation (video)

Learn how biomass fermentation can be used to create the next wave of whole cut meats like steak, chicken breast, bacon, and flaky fish.

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Tiny organisms, huge potential

GFI scitech director Liz Specht explains how fermentation is on par with — and enabling — advances in plant-based and cultivated meat in Food Technology.

Key resources

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Research grants

Learn about cutting-edge alternative protein research funded by GFI. Find funding opportunities for your own research.

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Sustainable Seafood Initiative

Learn how plant-based, fermentation-derived, and cultivated seafood can improve the health and sustainability of oceans.

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GFIdeas Community

Learn from and network with experts in alternative protein. GFIdeas is a community for entrepreneurs, scientists, students, and subject matter experts.

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Startup manual

This guide lays out the steps involved in starting an alternative protein company, from securing funding and developing your product to scaling up and expanding distribution.

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Massive open online course

Enroll in GFI’s open-access online course to learn about the science of plant-based and cultivated meat.

Policy filings and briefs

To USDA re solicitation of input on agricultural innovations

GFI urges former Deputy Secretary Censky to prioritize open-access research for alternative proteins. Learn more about the benefits of doing so.

To the Office of Science and Technology Policy on the bioeconomy

GFI’s comment recommends ways OSTP can support alternative protein research. Learn how doing so can help create a successful alternative protein sector.

Producers’ First Amendment rights to use clear labels on food

This fact sheet from GFI’s Policy Team explains why legislators should oppose any attempts to ban common terms on alternative protein product labels.

Open-access research is needed for plant-based and cultivated meat

This fact sheet from GFI’s Policy Team unpacks why publicly funded research on alternative proteins will benefit the American economy, food security, and consumers.

GFI annual reports

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Year in Review 2022

In 2022, GFI expanded our global student movement to 36 total universities, influenced the Israeli and UK governments to declare alternative proteins an R&D priority, and collaborated with the government…

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Year in Review 2021

In 2021, GFI released first-of-their kind life cycle and techno-economic assessments for cultivated meat and elevated alternative proteins as a global climate solution at the UN Food Systems Summit and…

2020 year in review

Year in Review 2020

In 2020, GFI supported a proposal that resulted in the U.S. National Science Foundation funding cultivated meat research and launched our Advancing Solutions for Alternative Proteins initiative to identify the…

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Year in Review 2019

In 2019, GFI grew government support for alternative proteins in the United States, India, Brazil, and Israel, and our grant program funded 14 open-access research projects.

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Year in Review 2018

In 2018, GFI launched our research grant program, hosted the inaugural Good Food Conference, and mounted a defense of plant-based meat and milk labeling across the U.S.

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Year in Review 2017

In 2017, GFI launched the world’s first university course on plant-based meat and supported more than 100 alternative protein startups.

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Year in Review 2016

In 2016, the year GFI was founded, we launched two alternative protein startups and accelerated innovation in the public and private sectors.

Featured blogs

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BREAKING: World’s first approval of cultivated meat sales

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA), the lead agency for food-related matters in Singapore, has approved the sale of a cultivated meat product in the city-state.

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Why the U.S. should prioritize alternative protein research

Alternative proteins can enhance food security. But, to integrate them into our food supply, we need public investment in alternative protein research and development.


How plant-based companies are fighting back against label censorship

With help from organizations like GFI and ALDF, plant-based companies are challenging unnecessary and unconstitutional label censorship laws and transforming the policy landscape.

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Cultivated meat could transform our food system. Let’s use images that do it justice

Cultivated meat needs fewer bad stock photos and more images of real, delicious products. We put together a guide for journalists and cultivated meat startups who would like to help…

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Stanford Medicine study shows nutrition benefits of plant-based meat

A new Stanford School of Medicine study on the effects of plant-based meat compared to animal-based meat shows nutrition benefits for plant-based meat.

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GFI’s top 20 moments for alternative proteins in 2020

All around the world, 2020 was a remarkable year for alternative proteins.

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How plant-based meat can help heal our soil while feeding more people than ever

There is no such thing as a sustainable food system without healthy soil. The alternative protein economy can help us get there.

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Why we’re funding the next crop of alt protein research

If plant-based and cultivated meat are to supply the global demand for meat, we must fill white spaces in research. Check out four innovations our 2020 Competitive Research Grant recipients…

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Students will lead the alternative protein revolution. GFI’s Alt Protein Project is here to help.

As the leaders of tomorrow, students are uniquely positioned to help build a better food system. That’s why GFI launched the Alt Protein Project.

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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…

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WSO’s Friend of the Sea certification matters for the plant-based seafood industry. Here’s why

The World Sustainability Organization, in partnership with GFI’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative, announced it will begin certifying plant-based seafood products under their Friend of the Sea certification program.

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Help power a good food future

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