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XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion announces finalist teams

May 10, 2023

XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, has today announced six teams are advancing to the finals stage of its global, multi-year US$15 million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion (FTNB) competition. This prize seeks to create new pathways for environmentally sustainable, nutritious chicken breast and fish filet meat alternatives to meet increasing consumer demand and prepare for a future with an even larger global population.

By 2050, Earth’s population will be 9.7 billion. Demand for meat products is increasing while the impact of meat production practices devastates our planet, accelerating climate change and deforestation, and straining global water supply. We need new ways to feed the next billion humans that are more structured, nutritious, affordable, and versatile than alternative meat products currently on the market.

Launched in 2020, FTNB incentivizes teams to produce chicken breast or fish filet alternatives that replicate or outperform conventional meat in access, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, nutrition, as well as taste and texture. The six finalist teams, who have been identified following semi-finals testing hosted in Abu Dhabi, are:

CellX: Cell-based chicken team from China
Eternal: Fermentation-derived chicken team from Argentina
The PlantEat: Plant-based chicken team from South Korea
ProFillet: Plant-based fish team from Canada
Revo Foods: Plant-based fish team from Austria
TFTAK: Plant-based fish team from Estonia

“Exponential technologies are giving humanity the ability to reinvent how we feed the world. Today, nine million people die from hunger every year and 25% of humanity isn’t receiving adequate nutrients,” commented Peter Diamandis, Executive Chairman of the Board, XPRIZE. “Breakthroughs in food technology will allow us to feed a growing world of more than eight billion people with cheaper, better tasting and higher quality protein.”

These six finalists have developed multiple consistent cuts of a meat alternative that replicate the look, taste, smell, feel, cooking behavior and nutritional properties of a structured filet of fish or chicken breast. Finalists were selected by a judging panel of diverse experts in international sustainability, agricultural and biological engineering, the food industry, and experts working at the highest levels of academia and research.

“Demand is increasing for higher-quality, alternative proteins that are not only sustainable and nourishing, but also delicious,” added Ryan Hutmacher, award-winning chef, founder of The Well Beyond Food Project, and FTNB judge. “I’m hopeful that these finalist teams can answer that call as they continue to develop scalable, long-term, alternative meat solutions.

“As our population grows, our ability to meet the increasing global demand for quality proteins while avoiding negative environmental impacts will be crucial,” said Caroline Kolta, Program Director, Feed the Next Billion. “Our finalist teams are demonstrating that we can create structured, versatile alternative meat products with a smaller environmental footprint than their conventional counterparts without sacrificing taste or nutrition.”

FTNB was modeled following an in-depth analysis of global food system challenges that identified 12 radical breakthroughs which could establish a more food secure and environmentally sustainable world by 2050. Amid these 12 breakthrough opportunities, the need for alternative proteins at-scale was identified as a critical impact area that requires significant technological advances, decreased price points, and notable shifts in consumers' preferences – all while maintaining positive health and environmental benefits as compared to conventional animal-based proteins.

“This competition is a great example of how innovators and new technologies can help us move toward a future of more sustainable alternative proteins. We are excited to see these incredible teams advance to the final round of the competition, and we look forward to seeing their final products,” said Dr Tom McCarthy, Executive Director, ASPIRE.

The winning team, which will be selected in 2024, will develop multiple consistent cuts of chicken breast or fish filet alternatives (115g/4oz) that replicate the sensory properties, structure, versatility, and nutritional profile of conventional chicken or fish, while having a lower comparable environmental footprint.

XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion is sponsored by ASPIRE and The Tony Robbins Foundation. Etihad Airways is the Official Airline Partner of XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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