Six finalists have been chosen to advance to the final stage of the $15 million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion competition, which aims to reinvent how humanity will feed future generations.
They were chosen from among 31 semifinalists from 353 teams that entered the contest that began in 2020, with the specific goal of producing 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.
“Exponential technologies are giving humanity the ability to reinvent how we feed the world,” says Peter Diamandis, Executive Chairman of the Board, XPRIZE. “Today 9 million people die from hunger every year and 25% of humanity isn’t receiving adequate nutrients. Breakthroughs in food technology will allow us to feed a growing world of 8+ billion people with cheaper, better tasting and higher quality protein.”
The winning team, which will be selected in 2024, will develop multiple consistent cuts of chicken breast or fish filet alternatives (115 grams/4 ounces) that replicate the sensory properties, structure, versatility, and nutritional profile of conventional chicken or fish, while having a lower comparable environmental footprint.
The six finalist teams 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
All have developed multiple consistent cuts of a meat alternative that replicates the look, taste, smell, feel, cooking behavior and nutritional properties of a structured filet of fish or chicken breast.
“Demand is increasing for higher-quality, alternative proteins that are not only sustainable and nourishing, but also delicious,” says award-winning chef Ryan Hutmacher, founder of The Well Beyond Food Project, and an 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 FTNB program director Caroline Kolta. “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.”
XPRIZE’s Future of Food Impact Roadmap, an in-depth analysis of global food system challenges, identified 12 radical breakthroughs which could establish a more food secure and environmentally sustainable world by 2050. The critical impact area that XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion addresses is the need for alternative proteins at-scale.
Cultivated, plant-based, blended, and other approaches are eligible as long as they meet the competition’s judging criteria. A bonus prize will be awarded to the team that develops a whole animal-origin-free growth media at the lowest production cost.
“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 of ASPIRE, which is sponsoring the contest along with The Tony Robbins Foundation. Robbins talked about his interest in these issues in an interview in December 2020.
XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion recently partnered with Blue Horizon, Future Food-Tech, Seeker, and World Central Kitchen to aid competing teams in various forms, ranging from awareness building, mentorship to gratis or discounted services.
XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion announces finalist teams. XPRIZE, May 10, 2023
XPRIZE adds three semifinalists in $15M competition to discover tomorrow’s proteins. XPRIZE, Jan. 31, 2022
Cover image: Cell-X cultivated meat.