Bezos spending R1.12 billion on meat alternative research

The Bezos Earth Fund is pouring $60 million into revamping alternative proteins as part of its push to make food more sustainable.

The Jeff Bezos-backed philanthropic organisation will put money into establishing university research centres that will work on improving the taste, texture and nutrition of meat alternatives.

The centres, set up over the next five years, will also focus on bringing down manufacturing costs and finding new ingredients, according to Andy Jarvis, director of Future of Food at the Bezos Earth Fund.

“Alternative proteins are an imperative if we are to stay within planetary boundaries, if we are to feed 10 billion people within those boundaries,” Jarvis said in a video interview. “We’re investing in alternative proteins because they need to be successful.”

The funding is part of a $1 billion commitment by the Bezos Earth Fund to tackle food’s impact on climate and nature.

Alternative proteins have been singled out as a way to help shift diets away from livestock, a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions.

But they have struggled to win over consumers due to a lack of flavor, high prices and concerns over nutrition.

“They need to cost less, they need to be more flavorful,” Jarvis said.

The Bezos Earth Fund was launched in early 2020 by Bezos — the world’s second-richest person and founder of Inc. — who pledged $10 billion to fight climate change and protect the natural world.

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Bezos spending R1.12 billion on meat alternative research