On average Americans consume three hamburgers every week. That’s not the healthiest choice for people and planet. The Times They Are A-Changin, though, as data released today by the Good Food Institute (GFI) reveals.

Alternative proteins, like meat free burgers, are growing in popularity across the U.S. and Europe – a trend which is good news for people and planet.

And one that is proving very attractive to investors, as the three GFI state of the industry reports show.

In 2020, a record breaking $3.1 billion was invested in alternative proteins, according to GFI. The figure is more than half the amount invested in alternative proteins since 2010. Which signifies the scale of the transformation happening right now in food trends.

“The alternative protein sector sits at the powerful intersection of increasing consumer demand, food system security, and climate change solutions,” said GFI Director of Corporate Engagement Caroline Bushnell.  “2020’s developments substantiate real gains—but also the need for accelerated public and private investment.”

U.S. government and EU state investments in alt proteins, although low, are on the rise. Last year public-sector R&D funding rose in both America and Europe, including the nearly $4 million that was invested by the U.S. government in open-access cultivated meat research. Small change compared to the $30 billion spent globally on renewable energy technology R&D every year but with more private and public money now being directed at alt proteins the industry is only going to grow stronger.

GFI Director of Corporate Engagement, Caroline Bushnell added: “2020 was a breakout year for alternative proteins, with record investment flowing into all segments of the industry. This is yet another signal of the significant potential the private sector sees in this rapidly growing global industry. While the amount is record-breaking, more investment is needed—from both the public and the private sectors—to meet the urgency of this moment. A large-scale shift toward alternative proteins will be critical to mitigating the environmental impact of food production, meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, and sustainably feeding a growing global population.”

For more insight from GFI, tune in to the Inside Ideas podcast with Marc Buckley tomorrow, when Emily Hennessee, a policy associate at The Good Food Institute, will join Marc for a deep dive on all things food.

The post Lift off for alt proteins first appeared on Innovators magazine.