WASHINGTON — Data from The Good Food Institute (GFI), an alternative protein advocacy group, show investments in plant-based, cell cultivated and fermented protein companies reached $3.1 billion in 2020, significantly higher than in 2019, when investment levels were near $1 billion.

“2020 was a breakout year for alternative proteins, with record investment flowing into all segments of the industry,” said Caroline Bushnell, director of corporate engagement for the GFI. “This is yet another signal of the significant potential the private sector sees in this rapidly growing global industry.”

Plant-based protein companies received the lion’s share of the investment at $2.1 billion in 2020. Plant-based protein investments included Impossible Foods’ $700 million in funding, which comprised a $500 million Series F in March and a $200 million Series G in August; Livekindly’s $335 million venture capital financing; Oatly’s $200 million private equity and $78 million debt financing; and Califia Farms’ $172 million private equity financing.

Companies focused on cultivating meat from cell cultures received $360 million in investments during the year and included $186 million to Memphis Meats and $75 million to Mosa Meat.

Alternative protein investment summary 2010-2020 graphic

Fermentation companies focused on alternative proteins received $590 million in investments. Perfect Day received $300 million in Series C funding, and Nature’s Fynd received a debt round of $45 million.

“The investor community is waking up to the massive social and economic potential of food technology to radically remake our food system,” said Sharyn Murray, senior investor engagement specialist for the GFI. “Early trendsetters like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats, and Mosa Meat continue to perform well, and there are more and more entrepreneurs who see the potential of alternative proteins to succeed in the marketplace while having a positive global impact on food sustainability and global health.”