Investments in Israeli alternative protein companies have grown eightfold in the last two years, from $14 million in 2018 to $114 million in 2020, according to a report by The Good Food Institute Israel.
Worldwide, investments in alternative protein companies reached $3.1 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $140 billion, or 10% of the total meat market, by 2030, GFI Israel said, citing Barclays Group’s forecasts, adding that Israel plays a substantial role in this global movement.
Israel is considered a world leader in vegan foods and diets. Sales of plant-based products in Israel grew 13 times more than sales of animal-based products in 2020, GFI Israel said, led by tofu (68%), burgers and minced meat (58%), and non-soy milk (55%). Plant-based milk currently constitutes 13% of the total milk market in Israel, it added.
Israel has been a pioneer in the field of alternative proteins since 2015, when several cultivated meat companies were founded in the country. GFI Israel said that according to its calculations, investment in alternative proteins, growing by 187% a year, is growing much faster than for any other hi-tech industry in the country – acknowledging, however, that the total number is still much smaller than other industries.
Of investment in the alternative protein field, most ($77m.) went toward plant-based protein companies, while those involved in fermentation and cultivated meat raised $21 m. and $16 m., respectively.
Among the largest funding rounds in the past year were a $30 million IPO on the Canadian Stock Market from ELSE Nutrition, which produces plant-based baby formula and baby food, and an $11.8 million round by Remilk, which produces milk proteins without the use of cows. Already in 2021, Future Meat Technologies has completed a $26 million round of funding, and MeaTech went public on Nasdaq and raised about $22 million during its IPO.
According to GFI’s charting, there are 28 laboratories in leading academic research institutions across Israel that are directly involved in research in the field of alternative proteins, and another 300 laboratories with research potential related to the industry.
“Israel is ranked 2nd in the world (after the United States) in the number of fermentation companies (10) and cellular agriculture companies (9),” said Aviv Oren, Business Engagement Manager at GFI Israel.
“As this industry is still in its infancy, we are expecting to see more emerging start-ups and bigger investments being made as mature companies scale up in the coming years,” he said.
“Start-ups in Israel are no longer in a rush for an exit, and although their target market is in most cases overseas, they have learned to scale effectively and build global brands,” Oren said. “This is why we see more and more tier 1 international investors active in Israel.”