Non-profit XPRIZE today launched a four-year-long competition to transform the global meat industry. Done in partnership with ASPIRE, the project management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), the XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion competition will foster technological breakthroughs for a more secure food system as we inch towards 2050 and a larger population. Registration is open now, according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
The competition was developed in response to XPRIZE’s recently released Future of Food Impact Roadmap, where the organization pinpointed 12 “breakthrough opportunities” that could help build a better food system. Alt-protein is one of those areas. XPRIZE noted today that “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 animal-based proteins.”
In keeping with that, the Feed the Next Billion Competition will incentivize teams to produce chicken breast and fish fillet alternatives that “replicate or outperform” the real thing in terms of nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and taste and texture, according to the competition’s site.
Participants will need to develop multiple consistent cuts of meat alternatives that look, taste, and feel like traditional animal-based meat. All teams will also need to demonstrate the ability to scale production for global distribution.
The competition comes at a time when the meat and dairy industry account for about 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases and concerns about how to feed a growing world population abound. Alternative proteins, whether plant-based or cultured, have emerged in recent years as a key tool in fighting off the environmental and humanitarian consequences of traditional meat production. There are many routes to alt-protein out there, from Meat-Tech’s 3D-printed cultured beef to the growing list of companies in the $10 million plant-based egg industry. Especially noteworthy recent developments include Eat Just getting the world’s first regulatory approval for cultured meat and Israel’s newly stated goal to develop a national plan for alternative proteins.
Companies from around the world are invited to register for XPRIZE’s four-year-long competition. Registration will run through April 28, 2021. A total of $15 million will be given to multiple grand prize winners (a specific number of winners was not named) in the first quarter of 2024.