Wanted: Chicken or fish alternatives that 'replicate or outperform' animal products... XPRIZE unveils semi-finalists in $15m global 'Feed the Next Billion' competition

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Pictures courtesy of BlueNalu, GOOD Meat, Meati Foods, Atlast Foods, and Better Meat Co. Logo: XPRIZE
Pictures courtesy of BlueNalu, GOOD Meat, Meati Foods, Atlast Foods, and Better Meat Co. Logo: XPRIZE

Related tags XPRIZE alternative proteins cell-cultured meat cell-cultured seafood cell-based seafood plant-based chicken plant-based seafood mycelium fungi

From Air Protein - a startup manufacturing protein out of thin air*; to Meati Foods and Atlast Foods - fungi-fueled firms making whole cut ‘meats’ from mycelium; to a flurry of cell-cultured meat players including BlueNalu, GOOD Meat, and Wildtype; 28 firms have been selected as semi-finalists in the $15m global XPRIZE ‘Feed the Next Billion’ competition.

The initiative​  - which was launched in December 2020 and comes with a top prize of $7m, and 2nd​ and 3rd​ place prizes of $2m and $1m respectively - challenges applicants to produce “structured chicken breast or fish fillet alternatives that replicate or outperform conventional chicken and fish in: access, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, nutrition and health, as well as taste and texture.”

The winning teams will need to create “at least 25 cuts of structured chicken breast or fish fillet analogs of 115g or 4oz that replicate the sensory properties, versatility, and nutritional profile of conventional chicken or fish.”

A bonus prize of $2m will go to a team that develops a whole animal-origin-free growth media at the lowest production cost; $500k will go towards semifinalists’ costs; while the remaining $2.5m will be split between up to 10 finalists, who will be announced in late 2022, with the three winners announced in early 2024.

The 28 semi-finalists​ - announced as Nestle, the world's largest food company, confirmed​ that it is working with Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies​ to "explore the potential of cultured-meat components"​ - are:

  • Air Protein​, United States
  • Another Fish, Canada
  • Atlast Food Co​, United States
  • BlueNalu​, United States
  • Boston Meats, United States
  • Brew51, India
  • CELL AG TECH, Canada
  • CellX, China
  • DiverseFarm-Structured Meat, Japan
  • ENOUGH - NO LIMITS , United Kingdom
  • GOOD Meat​, United States
  • IntegriCulture, Japan
  • Kernel Mycofoods, Argentina
  • Kuleana, United States
  • MeatOurFuture, South Africa
  • Meati Foods​, United States
  • MyoWorks, India
  • Novel Farms, United States
  • ProFillet, Canada
  • Revo Foods, Austria
  • SeaSpire, New Zealand
  • TFTAK, Estonia
  • The Better Meat Co​, United States
  • The PlantEat, South Korea
  • Umami Meats, Singapore
  • Umiami, France
  • Whiteboard Foods, Canada
  • Wildtype, United States

The competition was launched with the support of partners including ASPIRE (a part of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council), The Tony Robbins Foundation, The Good Food Institute, Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR), District 3, New Harvest, and Proveg International.

*Air Protein – one of a new wave of startups producing proteins via microbes rather than plants or animals – deploys single-cell organisms called hydrogenotrophs first studied by NASA in the 1960s, which can convert core elements from the air into complete protein, producing large quantities of biomass “in the dark, in any season, in any geography,” ​​​says CEO Dr Lisa Dyson, who said the key inputs are beverage-grade CO2​ (the same type used in sparkling water), water, minerals, and electricity.

The process takes place in fermentation vessels, says the company: "The medium of growth for Air Protein flour is water and does not require any arable land and can scale vertically... The hydrogenotrophs are able to consume the CO2​ and other elements to produce amino acids. While crops require months to go from seed to harvest, Air Protein’s probiotic production process is ready for harvest in hours.”

  • Learn more about XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion here​ and listen to FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup to Nuts podcast on XPRIZE here.

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