XPrize launches a $15-million competition to develop alternative meats
The future of food security, sustainable agriculture and the environment as a whole call for a lower reliance on traditional meat products over the coming decades, and a newly announced XPrize contest puts this issue center stage. The Feed the Next Billion competition carries the lofty ambition of reshaping the global meat industry, by encouraging the development of chicken and fish alternatives.
The global population is expected to grow from around 7.7 billion currently to around 10 billion by 2050, and serious questions remain around the impacts of current agricultural practices with that many mouths to feed. Producing enough food for the Earth’s inhabitants without gravely endangering its natural ecosystems and wildlife will involve a serious course correction, and getting our protein from sources other than traditional meats shapes as part of the solution.
Lab-grown meats such as those from Impossible Foods and Eat Just, whose cultured chicken was approved for sale in Singapore this week, are a couple of examples of how technology can replicate the look, taste and feel of the real thing. Similarly, the Feed the Next Billion competition tasks entrants with doing just that with chicken and fish.
The winning teams will need to produce consistent cuts of meat that cook like real chicken and fish, and offer the same nutritional value. The alternative meats must, however, have a lower environmental footprint than conventional meats and the teams behind them must demonstrate how production can be scaled up for distribution across the globe.
“Billions of individuals do and will desire higher quality protein as a food source, but the earth is incapable of providing this with traditional livestock. A much more sustainable, scalable methodology is required,” says XPrize Founder Peter H. Diamandis, MD. “XPrize Feed the Next Billion seeks to create poultry and fish that is affordable, sustainable, more nutritious, and a lower cost than mechanisms now in place. We believe hundreds of entrepreneurs will focus on driving breakthroughs in this critical and important area to help feed the world.”
Registration is open from now until April 28, 2021, with the winners of the Feed the Next Billion XPrize to be announced in 2024.