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Jeff Bezos' philanthropic fund is pouring $60 million into alternative meats to try to make them taste better

A stock image of plant-based meat and Jeff Bezos in a composite image
A stock image of plant-based meat and Jeff Bezos at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Getty Images
  • Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund is allocating $60 million to try to improve alternative meats.

  • The goal is to make them taste better and reduce the cost of plant-based alternatives.

  • Fake meats are hailed as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but don't always taste great.

Jeff Bezos' philanthropic fund is allocating $60 million to improving alternative meats by making them taste better and cost less.

Lauren Sánchez, Bezos' fiancée and the vice chair of the Bezos Earth Fund, announced on Tuesday that the fund is investing the money as part of a $1 billion commitment to transforming the food industry.

The $60 million will go into establishing research centers, which will work to improve quality and nutrition, and reduce the cost of manufacturing fake meat, according to a press release.

"There are also enormous opportunities to enhance the texture and boost flavor through innovation in cell biology and engineering," it said.

In a video interview, Andy Jarvis, director of Future of Food at the fund, told Bloomberg that alternative meat is "imperative if we are to stay within planetary boundaries, if we are to feed 10 billion people within those boundaries."

"They need to cost less, they need to be more flavorful," he added.

The Earth Fund was created in 2020 following a commitment of $10 billion from Bezos, the third-richest man in the world, to fight against the climate crisis and to protect nature.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, increased consumption of meat and dairy alternatives could contribute significantly to curbing climate-harming emissions, particularly in high and middle-income countries.

A July 2022 report from the Boston Consulting Group found that investing in alternative meats has the highest emissions savings per dollar of invested capital of any sector.

And according to the Good Food Institute, there is an appetite for plant-based foods. It said that plant-based meat and seafood hit retail sales of $1.4 billion in the US in 2022.

Despite this, taste and cost remain barriers to consumers trying alternatives.

A third of US consumers say they won't buy plant-based meat because it costs too much, the institute said.

Business Insider's Grace Dean reported last August that Beyond Meat's sales tanked by nearly a third in Q2 of 2023 because financially squeezed consumers were switching to cheaper proteins, or forgoing altogether.

Read the original article on Business Insider