Minimum Viable Product

If we are incentivizing the creation of a chicken or fish alternative that outperforms the market, what should a minimum viable product look like in four to five years?

We want to ensure that we’re not copying what the market will already be achieving, and that we set audacious, but achievable, goals for teams that compete in this prize competition.

Thanks for starting this discussion @NickOttens!

Based on the feedback we have received from experts outside the community, it looks like our prize competition should not focus on cook time and shelf life, as the market will likely meet these minimum viable product (MVP) criteria on its own, but rather on cost, time, taste, texture, and versatility.

Do you agree?

@MikeSelden, @CarolineB, @ksampson, what are your thoughts?

A relatively immediate solution exits involving currently grown crops. Find the existing crops that make the most balanced protein (best mix of essential amino acids) and find cultivars of those crops that have the highest level of easily extractable protein. You might end up with peas and high protein oats. The problem is that legumes are notoriously low in methionine/cysteine and oats are low in lysine and threonine. And tryptophan (needed to make serotonin) is low in most plant sourced foods. So short term, blend the extracted proteins. Leave out the potato starch and other cheap fillers, and viola you have a beautiful product.
Down the road look to inserting designed proteins (replacing existing proteins) using storage protein knockout mutants as the host. Viola to the 10X. You will food the world. Corn, rice, wheat, and peas could all be vastly improved. Essential amino acids are the key ingredients of proteins. Why do we need proteins? Because free amino acids would suck all the water out of the seed embryos and the embryo would die. The regulation agencies in this country (they are an industry unto themselves) will take years to come to the realization that this is a necessary approach. I suggest taking your best efforts to Burkina Faso. They are open to fooding their people.
Dave Sands

Thank you for the feedback, @davidsands! Much appreciated!

@Fdelia, @oliversanchez, @timhammerich and @gilber26, I’d also like to bring this discussion to your attention. It would be great to read your thoughts on the question.

Thank you @NickOttens for driving the discussion. I think this challenge presents an opportunity to find protein-rich traditional foods that have been forgotten mainly due to the lack of awareness and product positioning. A perfect example, it is known that in pre-hispanic times in the Americas, the source of protein was mainly derived from insect-based foods as there was not cattle or even horses. There are other cultures that have traditionally raised different types of insects for human consumption.
The beauty of this is that these insect-derived meals come with recipes and low impact harvesting traditions.
I think we should be exploring how we can take advantage of these culinary traditions and bring them to 21st century standards.

Thanks, @oliversanchez! It sounds like that will have to be part of the mix to feed a growing world population, but I think it’s outside the scope of this particular Prize Design. Our focus here is on incentivizing the creation of chicken and fish analogues/alternatives.

@jali, @lxb, @AnilKumarChauhan and @tylerferdinand, it would be great to get your input on this question as well. Please let us know what you think!