Investors back alternative protein startups as lab-grown, plant-based foods ‘flood’ the market

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Cell-cultured meat, plant-based foie gras, algae milk and seaweed caviar are just some of the increasingly sophisticated alternative protein options flooding the market — and whetting investors’ appetites.

Last year alone, dozens of companies were launched, and many are attracting big investors, according to the burgeoning industry’s pioneers.

“For every company that’s looking for money, there are two or three investors. I’ve never seen that in Silicon Valley,” said Olivia Fox Cabane, founder of the Kind Earth startup and chair of the International Alliance for Alternative Protein.

To make sure they don’t get left by the wayside, most of the major agribusiness groups have started investing in new proteins.

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Even Tyson Foods — the second largest meat producer in the United States and the world’s biggest exporter of American beef — has joined the fray.

Impossible Foods is among several firms including California rival Beyond Meat developing plant-based or lab-grown meat substitutes that claim to offer products equal to or better than animal [protein].

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