GFI Offers $3 Million in Grants to Further Cell-Based and Plant-Based Meat Research

GFI Offers $3 Million in Grants to Further Cell-Based and Plant-Based Meat Research

The Good Food Institute is offering $3 million in grants to universities and other researchers for open-source cell-based and plant-based meat exploration and innovation.

The Institute estimates that today, less than 0.3 percent of universities around the world are working on such projects.

“Much of the scientific community is either unaware of the opportunities in plant-based and clean meat research or does not have access to adequate funding,” Erin Rees Clayton, Ph.D., GFI’s scientific foundation liaison, tells Forbes.

The funds for the grants come from “two visionary donors” who wish to remain anonymous and are not affiliated with any cell-based or plant-based meat companies. Proposals for grants must be submitted to GFI by November 21, and total project budget must be less than or equal to $250,000.

“Plant-based and clean meat research have huge potential to catalyze the evolution of our food system, solve critical global issues, and lead to rewarding careers for scientists working in this space,” writes the Institute.

Plant-based meat sales are currently growing at unprecedented rates, up 23 percent according to recently-released GFI data. Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat is currently the fastest-growing plant-based meat brand in the country, with sales up 70 percent, according to the data. The company got its start building upon federally funded-research from the University of Missouri.

The cell-based meat industry is also experiencing growth and development. Earlier this month, at the GFI-sponsored Good Food Conference at UC Berkeley, representatives from at least five startups growing real meat from animal cells collectively opted to form an industry trade organization.

They simultaneously opted to use the term “cell-based meat” over “clean meat” to refer to their product.

“We’d rather define ourselves by what we are, as opposed to what we are not,” Niya Gupta, co-founder and CEO of cell-based pork company Fork & Goode, told Business Insider.

These issues linked to nomenclature surround the entire alternative meat industry, according to GFI.

“The institute hopes that clean meat will someday just be called ‘meat,’ the same way as test tube babies are now just called babies,” reports Forbes.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.