Plant Based Foods Association — General Support (2021)

Open Philanthropy recommended a grant of $3,500,000 over two years to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) for general support. PBFA works to promote a competitive market environment for plant-based alternatives to animal products. PBFA plans to use this funding to engage with major retailers on merchandising strategies, improve the accessibility and distribution of products, and conduct relevant research.

This follows our November 2019 support and falls within our focus area of farm animal welfare.

UC Berkeley — Alternative Meats Lab (2021)

Open Philanthropy recommended a grant of $1,146,201 over two years to UC Berkeley to support the Alternative Meats Lab (Alt:Meat Lab), housed at The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Since our October 2019 support, Alt:Meat Lab has incubated a number of new startups developing alternatives to animal products and has helped build the talent pipeline for existing companies working in this space. This funding is intended to enable Alt:Meat Lab to continue its startup incubation and pipeline-building efforts and to expand its educational offerings at UC Berkeley.

This falls within our focus area of farm animal welfare.

Scale-up economics for cultured meat

Open Philanthropy commissioned a report from David Humbird on the potential for cultured meat production to scale up (to the point where it would be sufficiently available and affordable to replace a substantial portion of global meat consumption).


This analysis examines the potential of cultured meatproducts made from edible animal cell culture to measurably displace the global consumption of conventional meat. Recognizing that the scalability of such products must in turn depend on the scale and process intensity of animal cell production, this study draws on tech-no economic analysis perspectives in industrial fermentation and upstream bio-pharmaceuticals to assess the extent to which animal cell culture could be scaled like a fermentation process. Low growth rate, metabolic inefficiency, catabolite inhibition, and shearinduced cell damage will all limit practical bioreactor volume and attainable cell density. Equipment and facilities with adequate microbial contamination safeguards have high capital costs. The projected costs of suitably pure amino acids and protein growth factors are also high. The replacement of aminoacid media with plant protein hydrolysates is discussed and requires further study. Capitaland operatingcost analyses of conceptual cellmass production facilities indicate economics that would likely preclude the affordability of their products asfood. The analysis concludes that metabolic efficiency enhancements and the development of lowcost media from plant hydrolysates are both necessary but in-sufficient conditions for displacement of conventional meat by cultured meat.

You can read the full report here.

Material Innovation Initiative — Plant-Based Fashion Alternatives

Grant investigators: Lewis Bollard and Amanda Hungerford

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Material Innovation Initiative staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

Open Philanthropy recommended a grant of $200,000 over two years to the Material Innovation Initiative (MII) to support work promoting plant-based alternatives to animal-based fashion. This funding is intended to enable MII to hire a Senior Material Scientist, who will promote alternatives to silk and fur by connecting fashion companies with promising alternatives, providing support to plant-based alternatives start-ups, and working with academic researchers.

This falls within our focus area of farm animal welfare.