Just one week after Singapore became the first country in the world to approve the sale of lab-grown meat, XPrize has announced a new competition to foster the development of technologies that will transform the global food industry. In partnership with ASPIRE, an offshoot of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), the Feed the Next Billion contest gives entrants four years to develop meat alternatives.
Any company or organization that signs up for the competition will have a tricky challenge ahead of them. The XPrize says entrants will need to create consistent cuts of alternative meats that look, taste, smell, feel and cook like a regular fish fillet or chicken breast. They’ll also need to show their approach is more sustainable and that they can scale it to meet global demand.
Part of the inspiration for the competition came out of XPrize’s recently released Future of Food Impact Roadmap. In the report, the organization highlights 12 “breakthrough opportunities” that could one day lead to a more equitable and sustainable global food supply chain. One of the opportunities the organization highlights is alternative sources of protein. “... the need for alternative proteins at-scale was identified as a critical impact area that requires significant technological advances, decreased price points, and notable shifts in consumers’ preferences — all while maintaining positive health and environmental benefits as compared to conventional animal-based proteins,” XPrize said.
XPrize also spends a good amount of time talking about food security. That’s something that’s often not touched on when it comes to fake meat. And yet it’s a pressing issue all the same. In a report last year, the UN predicted climate change could reduce the number of fish humans could sustainably catch by as much as 25 percent by the end of the century. Seafood currently accounts for about 17 percent of the world’s diet of animal-based protein. That’s a lot of communities that could have their main source of protein disrupted by climate change.
Those who want to take part in the Feed the Next Billion content have until April 28th, 2021 to register. The organization will give away a total of $15 million to grand prize winners.