A boost for the blue economy: The essentialism of alternative seafood

GFI at work

Advancing alternative seafood at the pace and scale needed to meet global demand, dramatically slash emissions, and enable ecosystems to recover is not inevitable. Our scientists, industry experts, and policy professionals are focused on accelerating research, development, and the path to competitive commercialization for this promising solution. 

Among the most powerful ways we do this is through convening and connecting people from across the still-just-getting-started field of alt proteins. Just last month at the 2023 Good Food Conference, our SciTech team hosted a GFI Research Grant Program grantee networking lunch, which fostered new connections between researchers across different alternative protein production platforms. Also during GFC, our Corporate Engagement team hosted an alternative protein lunch and several tasting tours that brought together more than 35 chefs, corporate stakeholders, and investors to sample products from 10 different alternative protein companies. Participants from Incrivel/JBS, Griffith Foods, Conagra, JP Morgan, Sumitomo, and more had the opportunity to try Wildtype’s cultivated salmon. On both fronts, these shared experiences netted new energy and enthusiasm for sustainable proteins—critical factors for future success. 

Another strategic way we work is by catalyzing research and development to improve taste, nutrition,  price, and production capacity of plant-based, fermentation-derived, and cultivated meat and seafood products. With the support of several generous donors, our Research Grant Program was launched in 2018 to advance foundational, open-access research and create a thriving ecosystem around this game-changing field. Each year since, this program has provided opportunities for researchers to apply for rapidly deployed funding. This year’s call for proposals prioritized the need to develop novel tools aimed at improving seafood cell cultures, a key strategy for scaling cultivated seafood. In an emerging field like alternative proteins, open-access research has an outsized catalytic effect, serving to generate preliminary data that stimulates follow-on investment from conventional funding mechanisms.

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