Prize Timeline

Thank you for all the advice you’ve given us in the community! We are now ready to share our proposed prize timeline with you for a final round of feedback.

Every XPRIZE starts with a pre-launch phase (3 months), during which the prize is announced and marketed, and a team recruitment phase (6 months), in which teams can form and register.

For Feeding the Next Billion, we plan to insert a one-month Technical Submissions Phase 1 qualifying round at the start, in which teams will submit their proposals and explain:

  • The approach they are taking (cultivated, plant or blended);
  • The type of product (chicken or fish species) they intend to produce;
  • Environmental impact projections (energy) from lab to manufacturing scale; and
  • Their high-level market strategy, including path to regulatory review

There will be two months for judging, after which teams that advance enter Phase 2. In this phase, which will last 15 months, Semi-Finalist teams must produce a cooked 57 grams (2 oz) structured chicken breast or fish fillet chunks that will be evaluated on size, minimum cooking ingredients, organoleptic properties, nutritional profile, and environmental footprint (energy).

There will again be two months for judging, in which we expect around ten teams to advance to Phase 3. Every Finalist team wins $200,000.

The Finalist teams will then have 18 months to produce 25 units of a raw version of a structured chicken breast or fish fillet analog, at a standard serving size of 114 g (4 oz). During the final round of judging, teams will be evaluated on size, organoleptic properties, nutritional profile, consistency, versatility and environmental footprint (energy).

The winning team wins the grand prize of $8 million.

In addition, there will be a $3 million bonus award for the 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.

That’s a great well thought out XPRIZE @NickOttens and a nice timeline diagram too :slight_smile:

I have a few minor questions and comments to add that might be potentially useful.

There is no mention of culturing red meat. Has this been deliberately excluded? I understand that white meat, like chicken, is considered an “healthy” meat but doesn’t the iron content of red meat also offer a useful nutritional supplement, particularly for those people that need more iron in their diet? In short, should cultured red meat also be allowed? I know WHO have expressed concerns about the carcinogenicity of processed red meat, but is that because of additives (nitrites)?

Technical Submissions phase

For a solution to be successful we should consider health related factors, both perceived and real. With that in mind should we test what ingredients are added during the process and present in the final product (e.g. hormones, chemicals); and consider the perceived impact arising from any genetically modified ingredients? This also links up with the proposed regulatory review.

A useful addition would be the estimated costs.

Phase 2

Over the 15 months, will a team be allowed to submit just one attempt, or the best of multiple attempts? Similarly, should we impose a quality control metric, e.g. percentage success rate [in this phase or the later phase]?

Related to efficiency, quality control, and environmental impact is waste. Should we assess the amount of waste (including rejects) produced by the process?

It says “cooked 57 grams” - is this the mass before or after cooking? We should probably specify which.

It mentions “structured chicken breast or fish fillet chunks” - but not plant (specified earlier in Technical Submissions). Should it also include “plant”? [Is that what analog refers to elsewhere?]

Following up on the point about health factors, should we include laboratory testing for hormones, antibiotics, and other potentially harmful chemicals?

Thanks for your comment, @akb!

Yes - we deliberately excluded red meat, because there’s already a lot of progress in the market on that.

I will ask the rest of the team to review your more in-depth feedback and respond.

This article on cultured meat might offer some interesting insights in terms of measuring the overall environmental impact.

“recent research suggests that over the long term, the environmental impact of lab-grown meat could be higher than that of livestock”

We might want to assess the factors mentioned.

@NickOttens thank you for providing the competition timeline above, and @akb thank you for linking this article and for your thoughtful questions for the FNBXP team to consider, especially with regards testing for chemicals and hormones.

We are curious to hear your thoughts regarding what types of chemicals to test for. Additionally, what type of testing is needed to identify the presence of such chemicals and hormones?

Your point about waste is interesting as well. In addition to your suggestion to evaluate the amount of waste produced by the process, should we consider incentivizing teams to use recycling as part of their process to further reduce waste?

With regards to testing for chemicals and hormones @Kathleen_Hamrick we might want to consult relevant experts in that area. Perhaps consult food standards agencies, universities, WHO, and those that do drug testing in sports (as they are skilled at finding traces of biological boosting compounds).

Ideally, we’d want to test for all toxic substances, carcinogens, hormones, and any substances that might raise doubts amongst scientists (and perhaps the public). I’m not sure how practical and costly such an approach would be. A more targeted approach could be informed by studying the details of each process used by competitors (e.g. ingredients, catalysts, enzymes, hormones, and other chemical additives).

It’s likely that in the real world of business that approaches will be used to accelerate the growth rate of the cells. This might take place after completion of the XPRIZE. Therefore, to allow for this we might want to include the following metric during the competition: growth rate (per unit cost per gram of product [?]). In other words, we are trying to avoid processes that would have to be accelerated [perhaps by doubtful means] after the XPRIZE. So a “good” process might be one that delivers a safe product at a rate and cost that is competitive with today’s meat based products.

That’s a great idea to consider recycling! It would be a bonus if substances used in the process could be recycled (along with any rejected batches). It would also be potentially useful [subject to safety criteria] if a process could accept waste from external sources (e.g. uneaten food, waste from other food industries, and discarded parts of crops).

Hi. My understanding is XPRIZE prefers to focus on specific bottlenecks that government or industry are not seeming to solve. Am I understanding the challenge is be to create a white meat or a fish filet analogue? There are many existing companies working to do just that already.
And when we say winners will be judged on various criteria, are these in comparison to actual white meat and fish? Seems the actual criteria for a winner should be if it’s rated by chicken and fish lovers as the closest (or identical to chicken or fish) in a blind taste test that also includes chicken and fish (I have run such a taste test for plant-based chicken and plat-based burgers). And then some measure of sustainability, nutritional value, and scalability.

I agree with David, the timeline for this prize is much too slow for the rate the industry is already moving today. Within the last year, media costs have dropped, and many companies have white meat and fish structured products in development. Unless the prize timeline is condensed, products will come out on market before the competition is complete.

Hi @David_Meyer thank you for contributing your insight and thoughts to this topic. Regarding your question: yes - the products that teams produce will be evaluated in comparison to conventional chicken and fish.

@taylorquinn in terms of the products developed, what aspects of development will be most challenging for teams (i.e. organoleptic, minimum ingredients, nutritional profile)? Do you anticipate that most teams will have achieved regulatory review of their products by the end of this proposed timeline?

Regulatory review is tough to predict, but likely regulatory frameworks will start coming online in 2020. In terms of product development, it is unclear what aspects will be most challenging, the areas you mentioned all should be solvable based on today’s industry understanding. Structured products is a challenge without any current clear path to solutions.

X prize feeding next billion
By Janelee Sellers

My comment is long, but really important because of the lack of understanding by many (especially medical doctors and lab people) of the points I mention here.
If the team has the lab and science to do this in situ of a laboratory, I recommend the outdoors as laboratory, just be efficient with it and understand the timeline and nutrition of living things that humans need to consume such as, say, wheat grass powder; (grown in the rich soils of ancient sea bed in Utah West Desert. Using a unique freeze drying method called BioActive Dehydration TM, we retain the natural qualities fresh juice and when reconstituted in water the juice is virtually identical to fresh squeezed juice with essentially no degradation of color, flavor, aroma, enzymes, and nutrition. BioActive Dehydration TM process, the product temperature never exceeds 106ºF (41ºC) and is above body temperature (98.6ºF) for less than 2 minutes. Wheat grass contains high concentrations of valuable nutrients, including chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes. This juice powder is 100% pure and contains no insoluble fibers, carriers or additives.) , the timeline is likely appropriate. However, engineers and scientists and most medical doctors (our beloved but symptom-focused helpers) are notoriously uninformed nutritionally, take lab test results as they currently understand that, and NOT understanding human bio-available nutrition, natural soil/Earth biodiversity regarding food, not to mention lab food creators make boring ideas with food, aesthetics, and nutrition. A case in point is dog food: it is so bad to the creatures to eat (they aren’t prone to placebo effects because they don’t think about their food, they either eat it or they won’t eat it.) Dog food companies have to spray the dog food (read: carbohydrate sawdust with fake lab ‘nutrients’ sprinkled in only for ingredient labels and they have to spray this kibble with a flavoring so the dogs will even eat it. The kibble is NOT bio-available, hence the animal is actually starving and prey to a multitude of diseases. This also happens with humans, and likely any other living thing (including trees and plants) except microbiological living beings, the basis for everything. Fungi, mycelium, and these kind of building blocks of the natural world must be availed for bio-availability if these lab-grown foods are to do their job. Our planet is unique in that we have iron, we have it in our very veins, yet elsewhere in the Universe iron is one of if not THE most rare of ingredients, taking billions of years to make.

Check out this video (I know, it’s a doctor who sells the stuff, but the info shared is huge) on Earth minerals/nutrition that goes into wheat grass juice that is dried in the field to understand the way this grass uptakes nutrition, chlorophyll and the farmer creates a bio available powder IN the field to keep those nutrients viable: What is Wheatgrass Juice Powder? Benefits Explained By Dr.Berg - YouTube Ergo, if the lab-grown foods have the nutrition, x-prize will have a winner to bring to market. If not, x-prize will be creating fake foods that kill people and living things. Fungi grow fast, but natural environments are needed to uptake the good stuff for it to be bio-available to humans. This is just one example of a zillion that we have to take care with, and there are labs and scientists and doctors who are doing this… I am keeping track of some of them (the guy in the video here for one). I just want xprize to have a good product that is beneficial,not harmful.

Which criteria will be the most difficult for teams to meet?

Understanding bio available nutrition to humans and making that happen, insulin and the way it is needed and used in the body (how cells do or do not use the food) insulin spiking and how insulin works in the body with food and insulin resistance when the bio availbility is NOT understood, vs intermittent fasting and autophagy, and outdoor field/soil/earth timing and processing with constant integrated nutritional return (permaculture farming). Instead of testing after the product is made, I recommend doing the health / nutrition testing all along the creation of the lab foods to insure healthy outcomes. Humans intrinsically check palatable status as a marker for nutrition/ satiety, but when the gut biome is polluted with, say, artifice and carbohydrates, the brain will crave and seek those for the gut - but the body will actually starve if the brain is in charge, so we need to make the gut healthy first to talk to the brain.

This is a wonderful idea,and we have the space and places to feed all in our parallel universe of plants on Earth… please take my comments to heart regarding nutrition in its real sense for live beings, not lab-created sawdust. Living foods, especially those based on fungi and microbiology with our basis of needed sunlight and chlorophyll based on our Earth’s trace nutrients besides the major nutrients, will be a start on success for this project; ignoring these will have an outcome of failure, disease and maybe even dead people who trusted science to feed them.

Thank you all for sharing your feedback on the timeline here and in the survey.

Around half the experts we’ve consulted believe our designers got the timeline more or less right while a third believe we’re giving teams too much time.

The rest is either unsure or believes the timeline is too short.

Our prize designers are incorporating this feedback in the final prize design report, which will be shared with donors and sponsors who may be interested in funding the Feeding the Next Billion prize.

For a high-level summary of the Prize Design, click here.