Reimagining meat

The alternative protein solution

The Good Food Institute Israel is the country’s leading alternative protein think tank, accelerating a shift toward a more secure, sustainable, and just food system through open-access food science, R&D, corporate engagement, and public policy.

Globally, meat consumption is the highest it’s ever been, and according to the United Nations, global meat production is projected to double by 2050. This is due to increasing populations and rising incomes in low-to-middle-income countries, which is also correlated with increasing meat consumption in those countries.

By making meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood from plants or cultivating them directly from cells, we can modernize protein production, mitigate the environmental impact of our food system, decrease the risk of zoonotic disease, and ultimately feed more people with fewer resources. Studies show that people’s day-to-day food choices are driven by taste, price, and convenience, so at the Good Food Institute, we’re working to make alternative proteins delicious, affordable, and accessible.

At GFI, we’re building a world where alternative proteins are no longer alternative.

The challenges we are addressing

Climate change & biodiversity loss

Animal agriculture causes 20% of global greenhouse gas emissionsequivalent to all the planes, trucks, cars, trains and ships on Earth.

Research by Oxford University shows that the world cannot meet its climate targets without shifting away from conventional animal agriculture.

Moving to alternative protein sources could reduce climate emissions by up to 92% compared with farming animals – enabling people to eat familiar foods they already enjoy and want without accelerating the climate crisis.

It may also help with biodiversity loss. The rate of removal of open landscapes in Israel remains high each year due to civil development and there is an increase in the frequency of fires – and it is expected to worsen due to the effects of climate change.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 37% of global ice-free land is used as pasture for farming animals. Cultivated meat production could use up to 90% less land than farming animals, and plant-based meat can use up to 99% less land. These alternative proteins can free up space to restore habitats, and to use more nature-friendly methods of farming.

Aquatic life is also significantly affected. The Mediterranean is one of the hotspots of biodiversity on the planet, but fishing and other issues threaten marine habitats, and there is an accelerated loss of biodiversity, likely irreversible in some cases. Plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived seafood avoid marine pollution and help populations recover from overfishing.

A photo of the Judean desert near the Dead Sea.
Credit: Mark Neyman, Israel Government Press Office
PHOTO OF A PREY BIRD AT GAMLA NATURE RESERVE IN THE GLOAN HEIGHTS.
Credit: Avi Ohayon, Israel Government Press Office

Public health risks

Using animals for food is a key driver of pandemics, including Covid-19. The increased demand for animal protein and unsustainable livestock farming are among the top anthropogenic drivers of emerging zoonotic diseases—viruses that jump from animal hosts to humans and are capable of spreading globally.

Raising animals for food also requires massive doses of antibiotics, which is leading to antimicrobial resistance that could spell the end of modern medicine. By 2050, it is estimated that these superbugs could kill 10 million people each year and cost the global economy US$100-210 trillion.

Additionally, a plant-based diet that is high in fiber and low in saturated fats can substantially reduce the risk of developing heart disease. In August 2020, researchers found that in comparison to animal-based meat, consuming plant-based meat products led to statistically significant positive impacts on cholesterol, weight, and heart disease markers among the study’s participants.

Alternative proteins, specifically plant-based and cultivated meat, can help prevent future pandemics as they are free of antibiotics and fecal contamination and involve no risk of zoonotic diseases. While more research and innovation are needed to continue improving nutritional profiles and human health benefits, alternative proteins provide an opportunity to bring a healthy change in how we produce what we eat.

Food insecurity

Feeding crops to animals and then eating a part of the animal is exceedingly inefficient, driving up the price of grains and legumes and entrenching global poverty. According to the World Resources Institute, it takes nine calories of feed to produce one calorie of chicken meat.

By 2050, the world will have to feed a population of nearly 10 billion people, and we can’t do it with a system as inefficient as animal agriculture.

By making meat directly from plants and cultivating it directly from cells, we can focus on growing crops to feed people instead of animals, creating a more efficient and just food system.

Photo of apples from the Golan Heights.
Credit: Mark Neyman, Israel Government Press Office

Israel: A leader in alternative proteins innovation

Israel is ranked as one of the world’s most innovative countries and is number one in the world for per-capita startups. It is a truly creative R&D powerhouse thanks to its high concentration of talented researchers and entrepreneurs and its supportive regulatory and business environment and infrastructure.

Israel continues to lead as a global hub for alternative proteins, with over US$1.3 billion in venture capital funding to date, second only to the United States in alternative protein investments worldwide. Israel is home to over 75 alternative protein startups, breaking records in 2023 with 15 new startups founded and six new production facilities launched.

This is in large part thanks to Israel’s thriving academic ecosystem, with over 70 active alternative protein researchers across 11 academic institutions, and two dedicated food tech research centers announced. The government also provides critical support for alternative proteins, including funding for research grants, startups, and workforce training, and promotes a supportive regulatory framework.

GFI Israel works as a catalyst for the entire sector, leveraging the Israeli entrepreneurial mentality and partnering with forward-thinking scientists, businesses, and policymakers to ensure the country continues to advance solutions for local and global food and climate challenges and drives a thriving economy. The innovations that continue to come out of Israel put us on the path toward the global transition that is so necessary.

Our activity areas

Photo of Meat cultured in laboratory conditions from stem cells

Science

Explore the science of plant-based, cultivated meat and fermentation. Discover research ideas, funding opportunities, and open-access tools.

Policy

Learn more about how alternative proteins can help governments address issues like climate change and antibiotic resistance.

Business & Innovation

Find opportunities and open-access advice on producing and selling alternative protein products.

Our news, events, and blog

GFI Israel Top 10 Moments of 2023

Encapsulating a year of significant achievements in the alternative proteins sector, this update details our key initiatives and collaborations in…

Photograph of Dr. Iftach Nachman

Meet the researcher: pioneering Israeli cultivated meat research — Dr. Iftach Nachman

A pioneering scientist in the Israeli cultivated meat space, Dr. Iftach Nachman reflects on how far the Israeli alt protein…

Careers

The future of food and the success of alternative proteins rests in the hands of talented visionaries. If you or anyone you know has a keen interest in making the world a better place and being part of an exciting growing industry, check out our careers page for opportunities at GFI and throughout the sector.