The Good Food Institute

The Good Food Institute (GFI) is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs as well as cultivated meat (also known as cultured meat and cell-based meat) as alternatives to conventional animal products.[2] GFI has roughly 70 staff in the United States, plus affiliates in India, Israel, Brazil, Asia Pacific, and Europe.[3] GFI engages scientists, policymakers,[4] and entrepreneurs to advance plant-based products and cellular agriculture.[5] GFI creates open-access resources and publishes scientific research about plant-based and cell-based meat technology.[6] The nonprofit also helps established food service providers, restaurants, major meat producers, and food companies to expand into alternative proteins.[7] In September, GFI holds § The Good Food Conference to "[accelerate] the marketplace for plant-based and cell-based meat."[8]

A primary focus of the Good Food Institute is lessening global warming, antimicrobial resistance, global poverty, and intensive animal farming by influencing industry, scientists, investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers.[9]

Scientific Initiatives


Advancing the science of plant-based and cell-based meat is one of GFI's primary focuses. In 2018, GFI launched a competitive research grant program to fund open-access research for the development of these technologies.[10] Three million dollars, split among 14 research projects, were awarded in the 2018 funding cycle.[11]

Market Research

Plant-Based Products

GFI's State of the Industry Report showed that over $16 billion has been invested in U.S. plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies over the past 10 years, with $13 billion of those investments made during 2017 and 2018 alone.[12] GFI commissioned custom data on the U.S. retail sales of plant-based products designed to replace animal-based products from market research firm Nielsen Corporation in 2017 and 2018. The 2018 data release showed U.S. retail sales of plant-based products grew 17% to over $3.7 billion, measured over a 52-week period ending August 11, 2018.[13] Plant-based meat sales grew by 23%.[14]

Cultivated Meat

According to GFI's State of the Industry Reports 11 new cell-based meat companies were founded in 2018, making the total number of publicly announced companies 27.[15] In September 2018, GFI released the results of a consumer survey assessing various names for cell-based meat on the criteria of differentiation, descriptiveness, appeal, and purchase intent.[16] Working with research firm Datassential, GFI surveyed 1,004 consumers to test the terms "clean meat", "cell-based meat", "craft meat", "cultured meat", and "slaughter-free meat". Overall, the term "slaughter-free meat" performed best across the established criteria.[17]

Nonprofit research firm Faunalytics partnered with GFI to measure consumer attitudes towards clean meat when presented with information about its environmental and societal benefits. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would try clean meat; 53% would eat it instead of conventionally produced meat; 46% would buy it regularly; 40% would be willing to pay more for it.[18][19]

The Good Food Conference

GFI holds a yearly conference convening leaders across the plant-based and cell-based industries, research community, venture capital, tech sector, and traditional food industry.[20] The Good Food Conference is held in the Bay Area in September.

Past speakers include Mosa Meat chief scientific officer Mark Post, Memphis Meats CEO and co-founder Uma Valeti, Beyond Meat executive chairman Seth Goldman, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown, Preventive Medicine Research Institute president and founder Dean Ornish, National Geographic explorer-in-residence Sylvia Earle, former United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, CFO of Tyson Ventures at Tyson Foods Tom Mastrobuoni, and Archer Daniels Midland Company senior vice president of food research Mark Matlock. Past moderators include Nathaniel Popper of The New York Times, Jacob Bunge of The Wall Street Journal, and Ezra Klein of Vox.[21]


Against the FDA

In June 2016, GFI filed a lawsuit in a D.C. federal court demanding that the FDA turn over all records related to its regulation of the term "soy milk", after the agency failed to respond to several of their Freedom of Information Act requests in April 2016. According to Politico's Morning Agriculture report, GFI wants the FDA to formally "allow the use of the term 'soy milk,' and says the agency's inconsistency on the matter has led to 'consumer confusion and an uneven competitive landscape.'"[22]

Against the USDA

After filing three Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain documents from the USDA related to its open investigation of the American Egg Board's allegedly anti-competitive actions[23] against egg-free Mayo company, Hampton Creek, GFI sued the agency on Monday, August 8, 2016, for failing to respond to the requests in full.[24] According to an article on Vice Motherboard, GFI filed FOIA requests in December for meeting minutes and budgetary documents from the Egg Board, but was only given access to documents that had already been made public.

Against the State of Missouri

In August 2018, GFI, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, and Tofurky filed a civil rights action against the state of Missouri,[25] challenging a law that forbids "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Violating the statute is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by jail terms of up to one year, a fine up to $1,000, or both.[26] GFI argued that this law infringes on freedom of speech and is anticompetitive, citing Missouri legislator Senator Sandy Crawford's comment: "We wanted to protect our cattlemen in Missouri and protect our beef brand."[27]

Against the State of Arkansas

Similar to Missouri, in 2019 Arkansas passed Act 501 "To Require Truth in Labeling of Agricultural Products that Are Edible by Humans" which forbid the use of terminology associated with animal products on alternatives such as "veggie burger". In July 2019, the Good Food Institute, American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, and Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the law on behalf of Tofurky, a brand that creates meat replacement products from wheat protein and tofu.[28]

Effective Altruism

GFI has ties with the effective altruism (EA) movement, as helping farmed animals is one of EA's major cause areas.[29][30]

Open Philanthropy Project Grant

In September 2016, the Open Philanthropy Project awarded GFI a $1,000,000 grant for general support.[31] In 2017, OPP renewed this grant for general support at $1,500,000.[32] These grants were made under OPP's farm animal welfare effort, which is one of their major focuses given the large number of farmed animals subject to considerable suffering.[33]

Animal Charity Evaluators Review

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) named GFI as a Top Charity (the charity watchdog's highest ranking) in its yearly animal charity recommendations in November 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.[34] The 2018 ACE review lists GFI's strengths as its potential to decrease demand for animal products—possibly much more rapidly than moral arguments—as well as its leadership and strategic vision. Its weaknesses, according to ACE, include its relatively short track record and the unknowns in the timeline for commercializing cost-competitive cell-based meat.[35]

Effective Altruism Foundation

Double Up Drive, a donation matching challenge organized as part of the Effective Altruism Foundation's Raising for Effective Giving project, selected GFI as one of ten "highly impactful" charities to receive matching funds during their 2017 and 2018 campaigns.[36][37]

See also


  1. ^ "Clear Fund". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Good Food Institute website". Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  3. ^ "Good Food Institute website". Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  4. ^ Schreckinger, Ben (2001-09-11). "Tauzin for St. Charles Parish, Klueter for Mexico". Politico. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  5. ^ Rachel Duran (2016-03-16). "Food's future: New VC firm and nonprofit among investors in natural, organic startups". Food Dive. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  6. ^ Peters, Adele (21 August 2018). "Y Combinator is funding a nonprofit that advocates for meat alternatives". Fast Company. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  7. ^ Peters, Adele (21 August 2018). "Y Combinator is funding a nonprofit that advocates for meat alternatives". Fast Company. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  8. ^ "The Good Food Conference". The Good Food Conference. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  9. ^ "How The Good Food Institute Performs on our Criteria". Animal Charity Evaluators. December 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Research Grants". The Good Food Institute. 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  11. ^ Dolgin, Elie (6 February 2019). "Sizzling interest in lab-grown meat belies lack of basic research". Nature. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  12. ^ "State of the Industry Report". The Good Food Institute. 2017-12-31. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  13. ^ Anzilotti, Eillie (12 September 2019). "People are really, really into plant-based meat these days". Fast Company. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Market Research". The Good Food Institute. 2018-11-27. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  15. ^ "State of the Industry Report". The Good Food Institute. 2017-12-31. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Cellular Agriculture Nomenclature" (PDF). The Good Food Institute. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  17. ^ Anzilotti, Eillie (12 September 2019). "'Cell-based meat' not the most consumer-friendly term, reveals GFI consumer research". Food Navigator. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  18. ^ Watson, Elaine (1 August 2018). "Clean meat: How do US consumers feel about cell cultured meat?". Food Navigator. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  19. ^ Peters, Adele (1 August 2018). "Most Americans will happily try eating lab-grown "clean meat"". Fast Company. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Good Food Conference 2019". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  21. ^ "2018 Videos – Good Food Conference". 2019-07-18. Archived from the original on 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  22. ^ Bottemiller Evich, Helena. "SNA rallies against block grants". Politico Morning Ag. Politico. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  23. ^ Charles, Dan (3 September 2015). "How Big Egg Tried To Bring Down Little 'Mayo' (And Failed)". NPR. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  24. ^ Boudreau, Catherine. "Hampton Creek 'Just Mayo' Scandal Spreads". Politico Morning Agriculture. Politico. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  25. ^ Tsang, Amie (28 August 2018). "What, Exactly, Is Meat? Plant-Based Food Producers Sue Missouri Over Labeling". New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  26. ^ Meyer, Zlati (28 August 2018). "Missouri becomes first state to regulate use of the word 'meat'". USA Today. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  27. ^ Ball, Matt (28 August 2018). "GFI Goes to Court for First Amendment". The Good Food Institute. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  28. ^ Mole, Beth (24 July 2019). "Arkansas' ban on veggie-meat labels is total bologna, says Tofurky". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  29. ^ "What are the biggest problems in the world?". April 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  30. ^ "Introduction to Effective Altruism". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  31. ^ Open Philanthropy Project (October 2016). "The Good Food Institute - General Support". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  32. ^ Open Philanthropy Project (November 2017). "The Good Food Institute - General Support (2017)". Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  33. ^ Open Philanthropy Project (September 2013). "Treatment of Animals in Industrial Agriculture". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  34. ^ "The Good Food Institute Review". Animal Charity Evaluators.
  35. ^ Animal Charity Evaluators (November 2018). "The Good Food Institute". Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  36. ^ Effective Altruism Foundation, REG (November 2017). "Raising for Effective Giving 2017 Charity Drive". Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  37. ^ Effective Altruism Foundation, REG (November 2018). "Double Up Drive". Retrieved March 12, 2019.

External links