Prize Design Summary

XPRIZE Feeding the Next Billion is a four-year active competition with an additional 18 months of post-prize scaling impact work that will incentivize teams to produce structured chicken breast or fish fillet alternatives that replicate or outperform conventional chicken and fish in: cost and access, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, nutrition and health, as well as taste and texture.

By “alternatives,” we mean the product must use an alternative that does not result in harm to animals during its production.

These alternatives will provide a more environmentally sustainable path to meeting emerging markets’ demand for high-protein products, human health, and animal welfare.

While there is some activity currently to create ground meat alternatives such as burgers, chicken nuggets, and ground fish, more work is needed to produce structured, nutritious, affordable, and versatile alternative chicken and fish products that are capable of competing with conventional products on the market.

Why Feeding the Next Billion

By 2050, Earth’s population is projected to grow to 9.7 billion. In tandem with population growth, global wealth is increasing and producing a more robust middle-class. Demand for high-protein diets is increasing as nations move into wealth and the global middle-class expands. Consequently, global meat consumption is expected to increase by 76 percent. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, poultry production increased 28 percent between the mid-1960s and today. Additionally, fish represents 17 percent of global animal protein consumption, and 26 percent in poor or developing countries.

Our analysis of current conventional meat production trends and practices, especially of the chicken and seafood industries, revealed three core problems that are likely to intensify as the world strives to meet this growing demand: continued environmental degradation, food safety & malnutrition, and inhumane treatment of animals & biodiversity loss.

  • **Environmental Degradation:** Today, 50 percent of all habitable land on Earth is used for agriculture. This means that a quarter of the world’s land is being used to graze and feed farmed animals, which altogether consume 30 percent of the world’s crops. Commercial poultry production is responsible for the emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) across the entire supply chain: during the production of feed, while raising the chickens, in the course of slaughter and processing, and also during product distribution. Increasing global production and consumption of fish is resulting in similar patterns for the world’s fisheries, which saw a 28 percent increase in GHG emissions between 1990 and 2011. Commercial fishing nets are the largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution.
  • **Food Safety & Malnutrition:** A recent study finds that 73 percent of antimicrobials sold around the world are used in livestock for food production. In poultry production, antibiotics are used to increase feed efficiency, accelerate growth, and to prevent and treat intestinal diseases. This widespread and prevalent use of antibiotics increases the likelihood of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). While deaths globally due to AMR in 2050 could amount to 10 million annually, in one recent study conducted by Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return, an estimated 41 percent of companies that produce or sell poultry products do not have a policy on antibiotics use. Food safety complications stemming from fish are equally detrimental. Observations of microplastic uptake by aquatic wildlife have been reported in a range of habitats, including the sea surface, water column, the benthic zone, estuaries, beaches and aquaculture facilities. Over 220 different species have been found to ingest microplastic debris in natural conditions, including many commercially-relevant aquatic species like anchovies, sardines, Atlantic herring, Atlantic and chub mackerel, Atlantic cod, common carp, and others.
  • **Inhumane Treatment of Animals & Biodiversity Loss:** In 2016, 66 billion chickens, 1.5 billion pigs, 550 million sheep, 460 million goats, and 300 million cattle were slaughtered, and in 2018, 93 percent of the world’s marine fisheries were found to be beyond sustainable catch levels. Roughly 70 percent of chickens raised for meat globally are raised in intensive farming systems, where they are bred to slaughter in half the time it would traditionally take. Air in chicken houses is often polluted with ammonia, which can damage the chickens' eyes and respiratory systems. Fish slaughter methods, which range from suffocation in open air, chilling them while still alive, or cutting their gills, are often considered inhumane by fish biologists and behaviorists.
  • If current conventional meat production and consumption trends continue, the resources required to meet this global demand will accelerate deforestation and biodiversity loss, strain global water supply, accelerate climate change, intensify inhumane treatment of animals, and aggravate food safety and malnutrition issues.

    The Preferred Future State

    XPRIZE asserts that innovations in the poultry and seafood industries will succeed in disrupting the destructive global meat production and consumption status-quo and lead to a future in which the Earth is preserved while the food demand of ten billion humans are met.

    XPRIZE Feeding the Next Billion can unlock a preferred future in which:

    The Winning Team Will

    Create 25, raw, 115 gram (g) or four ounce (oz) structured chicken breast or fish fillet analogs that replicate the organoleptic properties, versatility, and nutritional profile of conventional chicken or fish.

    A bonus prize will be awarded to the Finalist Team that develops their analog using an animal-origin free growth medium at the lowest production cost, with a maximum threshold of $10 per liter.

    To ensure teams’ success throughout the competition, XPRIZE will carry out several scaling impact activities to support teams. After the competition is won, the top 10 finalists will continue to benefit from XPRIZE’s 18 months of scaling impact activities.

    Expected Outcomes of the Competition

    As a result of the four-year active competition, one Grand Prize winner will have created an alternative to conventional chicken breast or fish fillet. During the additional 18 months of post-prize Scaling Impact Phase, teams will work to transition their products to market at scale and achieve widespread consumer adoption.

    Throughout the competition, XPRIZE will work in tandem with regulatory entities such as the United States Food & Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture to support the development of a regulatory framework that guides innovators in the alternative meat sector.

    Additionally, XPRIZE will support best practices that facilitate the type of data collection needed to conduct more accurate Life Cycle Assessments of new alternative meat products developed during the active competition. XPRIZE will support open access to this data to raise consumer awareness about the environmental impact of meat alternatives.