10 Alt Protein Startups taking Sustainability quite seriously

The global market for alt-protein is expected to exceed $155 billion by 2027. Environmental concerns and animal welfare are some reasons for consumers’ growing awareness of alternative proteins (alt-proteins). It seems that the food industry is taking sustainability quite seriously. Hence, to cater to consumer demands for alt-protein, food startups are trying their best to develop an innovative process or technology to get alt-protein. And considering a record $5 billion in investments in 2021, it seems startups also have an excellent chance of bringing alt-proteins to the market. 

To clarify the above speculation, we have conducted extensive startup research on major startups researching alt-proteins and their unique technology, process, or method for making an alt-protein. 

This article lists 10 startups researching alt-protein. If you are interested in more, please fill out the form below to get a pdf report on 20 alt-protein startups.

Here are the 10 major alt-protein startups:

1. Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods is a company that is focused on developing alternative protein sources that are sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly. The company discovered that a molecule called heme is primarily responsible for the taste and aroma of cooked meat. 

Heme is found in both animal and plant cells, and the company uses a plant-based heme protein called leghemoglobin to give their burgers a meaty flavor. The safety of soy leghemoglobin was thoroughly analyzed through multiple allergenicity and toxicology studies, confirming its safety for consumption. The company also emphasizes the need to understand the long-term health impacts of eating meat and the importance of developing sustainable and ethical food options.

Source: Impossible Foods

In addition to leghemoglobin, Impossible Foods has also developed a range of other plant-based proteins and ingredients to create meat substitutes that have a similar taste, texture, and nutritional profile to meat. The company’s products are designed to appeal to both vegetarians and meat-eaters who are looking for more sustainable and ethical food options.

Impossible Foods has conducted extensive research to understand the sensory properties of meat, as well as the nutritional and environmental impacts of meat consumption. This research has informed the company’s approach to creating plant-based meat substitutes that are designed to closely mimic the taste and nutritional profile of meat while using far fewer resources and causing far less environmental damage.

Overall, Impossible Foods’ research on alternative protein has been focused on developing sustainable and ethical food options that can help reduce the environmental impact of meat consumption, while still providing consumers with the taste and nutritional benefits of meat. (Source)

2. TurtleTree

Total Funding Amount$39.4 Million
Top InvestorsLever VC, VERSO Capital
Innovative TechCell-based technology generates milk components by collecting cell samples from animals

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by TurtleTree?

Cell-based Technology – The company generates milk components that are better for the world, animals, and users by utilizing its proprietary, cell-based technology. Cell samples are carefully collected from animals, and the cells are then allowed to develop in a special growth medium. The cells are eventually employed to generate dairy components, which are subsequently processed. Finally, the cultivated dairy is produced and ready for sale. (Source)(Source)

Cell-based Technology Process

What are the collaborations made by TurtleTree?

In 2021, TurtleTree collaborated with Solar Biotech to address the problem of developing the technologies required to scale up the bio-manufacturing process. TurtleTree would use Solar Biotech’s fully solar-powered biomanufacturing platform and facilities to scale and lower costs as part of the partnership. TurtleTree will employ its bioprocessing technology to help it scale up the production of its cultivated milk. (Source)

In 2021, TurtleTree announced a strategic partnership with JSBiosciences, a cell culture media supplier operating in both the United States and China. The two companies formed a partnership to create commercial-scale cell culture media. Under the terms of the partnership, JSBio would provide food-grade basal media and commercial-scale manufacturing to TurtleTree customers, and the partnership would also assist in the development of TurtleTree’s pilot production, to scale up to commercial manufacturing in Singapore. (Source)

In 2021, TurtleTree announced a strategic partnership with Dyadic International, a biotech company, to create a range of recombinant protein growth factors with high yields and low costs. The fully-funded partnership would see the two companies produce recombinant protein growth factors in bioreactors at high yields and low cost, overcoming one of the major economic barriers that the cultured protein sector had while scaling up for commercialization. (Source)

Which Awards have been received by TurtleTree?

  • TurtleTree labs won the EWC 2020 as it was the first biotech company to create milk sustainably using cell-based technology. (Source)
  • TurtleTree Labs was the winner of The Liveability Challenge 2020, out of a field of more than 400 entries from 60 nations. (Source)
  • TurtleTree won the award for Best Biotech Company of the Year 2022. (Source)

3. Growthwell Foods

Total Funding Amount$30 Million
Top InvestorsTemasek Holdings, Creadev
Innovative TechPlant-based nutrition using a fully automated large-scale plant-based production facility

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Growthwell Foods?

Automated Large-Scale Facility – In 2021, Growthwell Foods established an Innovation and R&D Manufacturing Center, a fully automated, large-scale plant-based production facility. The cutting-edge factory, located in JTC Foodhub Senoko, manufactures 2,000 tons of alt-protein products each year. The facility houses Singapore’s first production-scale High Moisture Extrusion line, which will dramatically improve the texture of Growthwell’s alternative meat products. (Source)

Plant-based Innovation – Growthwell Foods promotes a plant-based, meat-free lifestyle. The foods include a lot of protein, which is important for developing and strengthening immunity. Infusing plant-based innovation into vibrant food cultures, the company creates a healthier, more sustainable food system – one that respects the body, culinary traditions, and the planet. (Source)

HAPPIEE! – Growthwell Foods’ Plant-Based Chicken and Fish Range

What are the collaborations made by Growthwell Foods?

In 2021, Growthwell Foods formed a strategic partnership with Indoguna, a premium food supplier. The partnership is part of Growthwell’s aim to feed 100 million people in the region with its plant-based options. After forming a collaboration with Indoguna, Growthwell planned to be available in more hotels, cafés, and restaurants across Asia and the Middle East. (Source)

In 2020, Growthwell acquired a majority stake in Israeli food startup ChickP to produce chickpea protein isolate and innovative vegan products for the Asian market. The company also intends to develop new plant-based meat and dairy alternatives using the patent-pending chickpea protein isolate. (Source)

“The pandemic has put a crimp in our plans to launch the manufacturing plant this year. But henceforth, it is full steam ahead. We are confident that the 90% chickpea isolate is the next frontier in plant-based meat. We are excited about supporting ChickP in its R&D journey as well as bringing alternative meat products made with chickpea proteins to the global stage.” Justin Chou, Executive Director of Growthwell Group. (Source)

4. Shiok Meats

Total Funding Amount$30.4 Million
Top InvestorsY Combinator, Aqua-Spark, Enterprise Singapore, Agronomics, Woowa Bros, Henry Soesanto, CJ CheilJedang Corp., Vinh Hoan
Innovative TechCell-based technology to produce meat and seafood using 3D printing and aquaculture

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Shiok Meats?

Cell-based Technology – Shiok Meats, a cell-based meat and seafood startup, is revolutionizing the shrimp market. Shiok Meats creates the same tastes without causing irreparable environmental impact by cultivating the cells of beloved meats and seafood in nutrient-rich surroundings. (Source)

Cultivated Meats And Seafood Making Process

3D Printing – Shiok Meats uses 3D printing to add texture to synthetic shrimp meat produced from isolated stem cells to mimic the flavor and texture of traditional meat. (Source)(Source)

“We have not had to enhance flavors for our shrimp dumpling prototype. The flavor and smell were inherent in the cells we grew. We are currently producing the shrimp meat as a paste/minced form, so the texture is as you would expect for a paste. We are working on providing texture for a 3D ‘c-shaped’ shrimp via 3D-printed scaffolds and hydrogels.”Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO, and Co-founder of Shiok Meats. (Source)

Aquaculture – Shiok Meats’ signature products are promoted as clean, traceable alternatives to aqua-farmed produce contaminated with antibiotics, heavy metals, and hormones. (Source)

What are the Acquisitions and Collaborations made by Shiok Meats?

In 2021, Shiok Meats acquired Gaia Foods to broaden its range beyond cell-cultured crustacean meat and to expand into red meat. Shiok Meats aims to bring Gaia Foods’ technical team on board to continue developing their cellular red meat products. The acquisition is in accordance with Shiok Meats’ expansion strategy, which aims to extend the company’s product variety as rapidly as possible to reach the cell-based meat technology markets. (Source)

“The alternative protein space is evolving rapidly, and we are very excited to collaborate and integrate with Gaia Foods. They are an incredibly talented technical and scientific team with promising technology to produce 3D-structured and textured meats.” – Sandhya Sriram, Co-founder, and CEO, Shiok Meats. (Source)

In 2020, Shiok Meats formed a partnership with IntegriCulture to ramp up the company’s cell-based seafood production. The two companies planned to collaborate to create a low-cost cultured serum for producing shrimp flesh in the lab. Shiok Meats would no longer need to purchase expensive growth serum or growth factors in large quantities from third parties as a result of the partnership. (Source)

“This collaboration potentially demonstrates the versatility of the CulNet System, which in theory can culture cells of any type and species without any exogenous serum or growth factors, but with food-grade basal medium only.” Yuki Hanyu, Co-founder, and CEO, IntegriCulture.

Which Awards have been received by Shiok Meats?

  • Shiok Meats was named the winner of the OCBC Emerging Enterprise Awards 2021. The awards celebrate small and medium-sized businesses that have demonstrated creativity, resilience, and sustainability during hardship. (Source)
  • Shiok Meats won the Startup Awards – FoodTech & AgriTech at the 2021 ORIGIN Innovation Awards. (Source)

5. Avant Meats

HQHong Kong
Total Funding Amount$3.1 Million
Top InvestorsLever VC
Innovative TechCell cultivation and tissue engineering technology to generate animal-free fish proteins directly from fish cells

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Avant Meats?

Cell Cultivation and Tissue Engineering Technology – Its patent-pending unique biotechnology platform generates animal-free fish proteins directly from fish cells in a cost-effective and completely traceable bioprocess. Their technique enables companies to generate meat and animal proteins without having to raise, capture, or slaughter animals. The company’s cell cultivation technology for meat production can conserve natural resources for the planet’s ecosystems while also assisting populations that are malnourished. It also decreases waste and public health hazards linked with breeding animals for food. (Source)(Source)

The Process

What are the collaborations made by Avant Meats?

In 2022, Avant Meats established a strategic agreement with Guangdong-based biotech business QuaCell, allowing for a 90% decrease in production costs. The new strategic collaboration hastened its scale-up ambitions, lowering the startup’s schedule for bringing its spectrum of cell-based proteins to market. (Source)

“The race for cost reduction amongst cultivated meats companies has entered a new phase. With this partnership, we can leapfrog into a larger scale sooner and can make a better CapEx plan ahead.”Carrie Chan, Co-Founder & CEO, Avant Meats. (Source)

In 2021, Avant Meats and Vinh Hoan Corporation (VHC) established a strategic partnership. The collaboration will aid in the development and commercialization of Avant Meats while also expanding VHC’s product offering to appeal to a broader customer base. (Source)(Source)

In 2021, Avant Meats announced a new collaboration with A*STAR’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) to expand its cultivated fish operations in Singapore. The firm is teaming with BTI scientists to co-create cellular agricultural solutions to reduce the costs of cell-based fish production, intending to commercialize the product for the consumer market. (Source)

“The collaboration will accelerate breakthroughs in methods to optimize the cell cultivation process for meat production. It will achieve process efficiency and cost reduction initiatives for fish cells.”Carrie Chan, Co-founder, and CEO, of Avant Meats. (Source)

Which Awards have been received by Avant Meats?

Avant Meats won the Startup Awards – Food & AgriTech at the 2020 ORIGIN Innovation Awards. (Source)

6. Karana

Total Funding Amount$1.7 Million
Top InvestorsHenry Soesanto
Innovative TechProprietary processing technology to make meat from jackfruit

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Karana?

Proprietary Processing Technology Using Jackfruit – Employing proprietary processing technology that utilizes the entire plant to make its meat. Karana offers a revolutionary next-generation meat replacement, offering the product more of a meat texture, without using chemicals or intensive processing using the main component of their debut products- jackfruit. (Source)(Source)

Karana Mince Made From Whole Plants

What are the collaborations made by Karana?

In 2022, Karana teamed with three San Francisco restaurants, Empress by Boon, Wildseed, and Base Camp, to offer their astonishingly realistic jackfruit meat. This is the first time the brand has been on menus in the United States, and it represents the beginning of its entry into a large and diverse market. (Source)

In 2021, Karana collaborated with 6 Hong Kong restaurants and 1 delivery brand, which includes Chaat at Rosewood, Emerald in Central, Sip Song by Maximal Concepts, all Beef & Liberty outlets, all Elephant Grounds outlets, Cantonese restaurant Cheung Kung Koon in Causeway Bay, and Deliveroo brand, Hot N’ Meen. They intended to debut their retail offering of ready-to-cook dim sum throughout Asia in the second half of 2021. (Source)

7. Phuture Foods

Total Funding Amount$200K
Top InvestorsBig Idea Ventures
Innovative TechProprietary processing technology employs molecular sensory research to mimic the building components of meat

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Phuture Foods?

PHUTURE® proprietary matrix of processing technology – The company’s technique integrates rice into the PHUTURE® blend, which it can produce using micro-emulsion through interactions with the protein and lipids in the product. This gives plant-based food a delicious fatty, juicy texture that mimics the building components of meat. (Source)

Molecular Sensory Science – The firm employs molecular sensory research to investigate the molecular distinctiveness of animal proteins. The technique uses a combination of thermal processing, natural umami flavors, and reaction flavors, resulting in an unrivaled, delicious PHUTURE® meat served with convenience and adaptability. (Source)

Molecular Sensory Science

What are the collaborations made by Phuture Foods?

In 2022, Phuture Foods partnered with La Juiceria Superfoods to develop Japanese-inspired Katsu Curry meals using Phuture’s Chicken product. The menu change is part of a bigger strategy to revamp the chain’s menus to include healthier alternatives.

Which Awards have been received by Phuture Foods?

Phuture Foods was recognized by Thought For Food for harnessing frontier technologies and breakthrough innovators for food security and nutrition in the Food Systems Change Maker Award 2022. (Source)

8. Life3 Biotech

Total Funding Amount
Top Investors
Innovative TechMicroencapsulation and other technologies using GI-lowering ingredient substitutes for a pleasant taste experience

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Life3 Biotech?

Microencapsulation Technology – The firm employs cutting-edge microencapsulation technology to improve the stability and dispersibility of chosen bioactive components, resulting in a pleasing experience for all taste sensations. (Source)

GI-lowering Ingredient Alternatives – Life3 is promoting innovation in the field of GI-lowering ingredient substitutes that minimize the risk of diabetes. (Source)

Other Proprietary Technologies – The company also uses other groundbreaking bioprocessing technologies, namely, microalgae-growing technology, shear-cell, and thermal pre-treatment technology. (Source)(Source)

“We are looking into in vitro trials in the early stages of our research. Microalgae reproduce very quickly, and it contains 60% to 70% protein, as well as omega-3. In fact, that’s where the omega-3 content in fish comes from. We want to skip the middleman, which in this case is the fish. This will help us develop high-protein, plant-based proprietary foods rich in omega-3.”Ricky Lin, Founder, Life3 Biotech. (Source)

What are the collaborations made by Life3 Biotech?

In 2021, Life3 Biotech and the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to combine electrospinning technology into food technology. It was the first attempt in the world to use electrospinning in edibles, to simulate the genuine bite of fish filets and meat jerky using plant-based protein. This collaboration paved the way for additional studies into the viability of generating food-grade plant-based proteins with the same technology. (Source)

In 2019, Life3 Biotech collaborated with Temasek Polytechnic’s Center for Urban Sustainability (CUS) to further its collaborative research and application in establishing a unique cultivation medium that employs food byproducts to improve the development and nutritional profile of its microalgae variety as food components. This was Southeast Asia’s first instance of such a controlled environment for agriculture production. (Source)

In 2018, Life3 Biotech, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), and National Junior College (NJC) agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on Project Cube/Roots, Singapore’s first urban agriculture research lab in a junior college for research and development work activities on creative, sustainable agri-tech solutions for the production of healthy food products. The project was scheduled to last five years. This tripartite collaboration was the first of its type involving a local firm, a government organization, and academia, and it represents the project’s common goal of R.I.C.E – Research, Innovation, Community Engagement, and Enterprise. (Source)

Which Awards have been received by Life3 Biotech?

  • Life3 Biotech won the Food Innovation Awards 2016 and 2019 for the Most Functional Food and was the 1st Runner Up in 2018. (Source)
  • Life3 Biotech won the Design Innovation Award from Design Singapore Council. (Source)

9. MAD Foods

Total Funding Amount$200K
Top InvestorsBig Idea Ventures
Innovative TechPlant-based (Oat milk) vegan cold brew coffees free from soy, dairy, and nuts

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by MAD Foods?

Plant-based Next-Gen Products – MAD’s 100% plant-based cold brew coffee drinks are made with oat milk. Its oat milk-based vegan cold brew coffees are devoid of added sugar and GMOs and come in BPA-free aluminum cans. The firm is dedicated to providing the globe with plant-based ready-to-drink drinks that are free of soy, dairy, and nuts. (Source)(Source)(Source)

MAD Foods – Coffee Range

10. Angie’s Tempeh

Total Funding Amount$400K
Top InvestorsBig Idea Ventures, Andras Varsanyi
Innovative TechTempeh Fermentation Technology to create plant-based protein-rich foods

Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Angie’s Tempeh?

Tempeh Fermentation Technology – The company specializes in organically fermented tempeh and provides a natural, wholesome source of plant-based protein utilizing a highly accurate fermentation process that produces tempeh with a solid, thick, white mycelium and a mushroom-like fragrance. Its unique tempeh range goes beyond soybeans to include additional superfood legumes and grains with several health advantages. (Source)(Source)

Black Bean with Green Kernal Tempeh

Patent Solution

Angie’s Tempeh successfully filed patents for its unique techniques of upcycling soy milk by-product (Okara) in tempeh foods, as well as innovative product skews such as Tempeh Bak Kwa and an all-purpose format minced tempeh. (Source)


The article aims to give you in-depth information about the 10 Alt-Protein Startups Questions while discussing the present scenario in the domain. Yet, there is more to it! Various aspects must be considered so as to dominate the industry and you might want to get answers to some additional questions to get a clear picture of what lies ahead for you. Have you been thinking:

  • What are the different kinds of funding that can be expected with regard to Alt proteins?
  • Which countries are positioned as leaders in alternative protein research?
  • What is the government’s take on alternative protein projects? Is the government funding projects in your region?
  • How has the non-vegan and the non-vegetarian market reacted to alternative proteins?

You asked, and we answered!

Since the article is just part of the extensive research GreyB has conducted in the domain, covering all the sections of our extensive research, all at once isn’t always feasible. We believe in providing customized solutions based on your needs. Hence, if this is something you are looking for, your search may end right here. You can fill in the form given below and get a personalized report focused on your queries.

Author: Vipin Singh
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