a lot can happen. And it did! Between political conflicts, territorial disputes, exchanges of governments, energy issues, expansion of artificial intelligence, global inflation, and the intensification of the climate crisis, we have reached the mark of 8 billion people on Earth. We are getting closer and closer to the 10 billion the planet must house in 2050, meaning less time and more urgency to achieve climate goals that, although ambitious, are possible.
The scenario may seem discouraging, but it should not paralyze us. On the contrary, it must catalyze in each of us the desire to live in a world with a better quality of life for all. This necessarily involves resignifying the way we have fed ourselves in recent centuries. Our current food system will not be able to supply the entire population if we continue to consume animal protein as we do today.
Plant-based beef steak – Incrível
change to be possible, provided there are alternatives that do not force people to abandon their food preferences, cultural habits, and traditions. Along with other more sustainable practices of producing food, The Good Food Institute understands that alternative proteins must be part of the solutions that will bring to reality the utopia of a just, safe, and sustainable world.
To this end, we have dedicated our work to investing more and more resources in research, training professionals, engaging companies and helping them create products and market strategies, influencing and subsidizing information for governments, guiding the press and social media, sensitizing investors and donors, and achieving organizational sustainability. We invite you to know a little of what we accomplished in 2022, believing that in 2023 we will do much more. Good reading!
If in 2019, when the first plant-based burger was launched in Brazil, the alternative protein market still seemed not widespread and very focused on a narrow audience, in 2022 we saw the Brazilian protagonism establish itself globally. We already have more than 100 companies with highly competitive product portfolios compared to foreign brands, we export to more than 30 countries, and, even though we started long after international companies, we already have the first domestic prototypes of cultured meat and we have attracted the interest of industry and academia, as well as a committed look from the government. Learn how GFI Brazil has contributed to these advances:
In 2021, JBS and BRF announced investments in cultured meat, and, in the following year, we have already seen the emergence of two national startups: Sustineri Piscis, focused on fish, and Cellva, dedicated to developing cultured pork fat. Also in 2022, Cellva created the first hamburger prototypes from cultured meat and cultured pork fat.
In the global context, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has deemed cultured chicken meat produced by startup UPSIDE Foods safe for human consumption. More testing is still needed before commercial production, but this was a big step for the global industry.
Cultured chicken – UPSIDE Foods
It aims to contextualize the challenges for the development of cultured meat in Brazil, the current condition of the country as a major player in the supply of animal proteins, its conditions to assume an important role in the sector, the motivations for its development, and the role of different agents in the complex and competitive scenario that has been formed in recent years.
Document with a vast list of terms related to cell culture technology, including cell culture, tissue engineering, and bioprocessing. The main goal of this document is to present unfamiliar terms to the reader interested in cultured meat and cellular agriculture technologies, in addition to work as reference material for experts on these topics.
A fim de capacitar profissionais para atuarem na indústria de carne cultivada, participamos da terceira edição do curso "Introdução à Agricultura Celular", oferecido pela Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR), em parceria com o GFI Brasil. Foram formados 49 alunos nesta edição do curso. Também participamos como palestrantes convidados da disciplina "Proteínas Alternativas: Feito de Plantas, Fermentação e Carne Cultivada", ofertado pela Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Foram formados 25 alunos.
In order to train professionals to work in the cultured meat industry, we participated in the third edition of the course "Introdução à Agricultura Celular" (Introduction to Cellular Agriculture), offered by the Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR) in partnership with GFI Brasil. 49 students were trained in this edition of the course. We also participated as guest speakers of the discipline "Proteínas Alternativas: Feito de Plantas, Fermentação e Carne Cultivada" (Alternative Proteins: Made from Plants, Fermentation, and Cultured Meat), offered by the Universidade de Campinas (UNICAMP). 25 students were trained in the discipline.
The plant-based protein scenario, already more mature in Brazil, continues to grow. In the past year, more than 80 launches arrived on the market, a number that indicates that the years of development of the sector translate into the improvement of plant-based products available to the Brazilian consumer. The current level of quality would not be possible without the joint and continuous work of universities and research centers, as well as government incentives and favorable regulatory issues.
Plant-based shreded ribbs – Verdali
Conducted by GFI Brasil in partnership with Toluna, the research interviewed 2,500 people, including men and women, aged 18 and over, from the ABC classes and from all regions of the country. With funding from ADM, GPA, Ingredion, Kerry, NotCo, N.OVO, Plant Plus Foods, R & S BLUMOS, Incrível!, Unilever, and Vida Veg, the 2022 research reinforced many of the results found in the previous study, published in 2020: the perception that Brazilians are more concerned about their health and seek to incorporate healthier options into their daily lives; the predominance of a diet focused on the reduction, and not the complete elimination of animal products; and the increasingly frequent use of alternative plant-based proteins to replace animal products.
The consumer survey gained great repercussion in the press, being released by 56 A and B vehicles (high and medium relevance), with 100% positive approach, generating a media return of R$ 1,646,400.00. The most relevant include: Valor | Exame | CNN Brasil | SBT News | Isto é Dinheiro | BeefPoint | Forbes.
Developed by GFI Brasil, the article compares the nutritional composition and additives used in the formulations of animal products with their plant-based analogues. The results showed that meat plant-based products have nutritional aspects superior to traditional products regarding saturated fat, sodium, and fiber.
After lobbying efforts by GFI Brasil and the regulatory departments of several industries, the Brazilian government published on August 22, in an extra edition of the Official Gazette of the Union, the Decree 11,182/2022, which establishes as zero the Tax on Industrialized Products (IPI) for vegetable beverages. This action benefits the consumer and the entire industry. At the moment, there are other tax fronts being discussed by the ABBI Working Group in order to increasingly create a level playing field for the alternative protein category.
Supporting the development of the alternative protein market
Accelerating the Regulatory Framework for alternative proteins
We released the largest website on alternative proteins in Brazil
We produced the 1st free online course about alternative protein in Brazil
Investing in research is key to finding sustainable solutions that enable the development of new foods and that meet consumer demand. It is true that deforestation advances rapidly, destroying our biodiversity to further expand the area of monoculture and pasture. But at the same time, we have numerous opportunities today to generate value for various species native to our biomes, developing ingredients for the alternative protein sector from them.
The Biomes Program was born to finance research with native species of the Amazon and Cerrado biomes, with the aim of serving as inputs for the alternative protein sector. By understanding the potential uses of the native species of these biomes in the sector, we will increase the opportunities for generating incremental income for local producing communities. In addition, the industry will be supplied with national inputs and these species will have more value standing than deforested.
In 2022, GFI Brasil contracted 7 research projects and the forecast is to finance 6 more in 2023. In total, the Biomes Program will allocate more than R$6MM reais for 19 projects.
The agreement aims to integrate alternative proteins into the Bioeconomy agenda, acting synergistically with the GFI Brasil team to boost the results of the Biomes Program in the state. In 2022, we worked together with the Government of Amazonas to define the communication strategy for the release of the Inovamazônia Notice, financed with resources from the JBS Fund. This collaboration was crucial to win the 23 research proposals eligible to receive the investment. This relationship will also be essential in the implementation phase of research projects with local producer communities.
The engagement of the press and the communication channels of GFI Brasil and the JBS Fund were fundamental to ensure a good volume of applications for the project. With this joint work, it was possible to achieve 9 insertions in the media, in high relevance vehicles, with 100% positive approach and media return of R$ 369 thousand reais. Among the most relevant are: Exame | Broadcast Agro Estadão | Canal Rural | Compre Rural. Eight posts were produced for LinkedIn, generating 575,458 prints. On Instagram, the 7 published posts generated 16,459 prints. We also produced a video to reinforce the call for projects.
Since the research was released, the material has been shared with more than 500 people in more than 150 companies, and has been presented dozens of times in lectures by GFI Brasil professionals. As a result of this work, in 2022, 6 companies confidentially announced their investments to study and use ingredients from Brazilian biomes. The ingredients include soy, beans, licuri, and macaúba.
The food production system is a complex and transversal issue for all of us. For this reason, this issue must be addressed in a plural and global way. Production challenges specific to one region have an impact on the rest of the world. Similarly, opportunities explored in one country can mean advances in several others. That is why we prioritized high-impact global actions in 2022.
The inclusion of the topic of alternative proteins in the global regulatory debate has greatly increased since the Codex Alimentarius included, in its discussion agenda of 2021, a reflection on how it should act in the face of innovations in the food sector, including the alternative protein industry.
The Codex meeting of 2022 concluded that the matter needs to continue to be studied by the technical staff, but recognized that it is in its scope of activities involving fair trade and food safety. For plant-based and fermented products, it is consensus that the current Codex structures are able to deal with the topic and that the current standards of plant-based proteins are sufficient for the debate that is presented. However, there is still a big question mark regarding cultured meat. To make progress on this issue, the scientific support structures were called, and FAO and WHO presented strong advances in the study of the aspects of food safety in cultured meat. Considering that these two technical agencies are the basis of Codex Alimentarius, this indicates the possible creation of that a minimum global standard of food safety in cultured meat, written by many hands, under the coordination of FAO and WHO and with automatic insertion of the Codex agenda.
On the occasion, participants from different regions of the world presented their cultured meat production processes, aspects related to product safety, and strategies for communicating these aspects to consumers. Our expert in science and technology, PhD Amanda Leitolis, presented the partial results of the Food Safety Study on Cultured Meat, developed by GFI Brasil in partnership with Unicamp. Our representation at the event ensured that the data generated in the study will have global relevance and contribute to supporting the safe commercialization of cultured meat.
PhD Amanda Leitolis was also among the 24 experts invited by FAO to participate in discussions over 3 days in Singapore. The event aimed to raise discussions about the main dangers of cultured meat production. From the discussions, public documents will be created with safety information that should support regulators around the world. FAO is expected to release a full report in March 2023.
Support in the organization of the first COP Food Systems Pavilion At this year's Conference of the parties, GFI was present as one of the 8 organizations responsible for the Food Systems Pavilion, the first space dedicated to discussing the role of the food production system in tackling the climate crisis. We led two thematic days, filled with informative sessions, plenary sessions, and case study presentations. In addition to hosting discussions focused on strategies for the diversification of protein production chains on a global scale, the GFI Brasil team was also present at other civil society pavilions.
GFI Brasil partnered with actress and activist Laila Zaid to explain basic concepts about alternative proteins and present the Food Systems Pavilion on-site to its audience of 214,000 Instagram followers. Two videos (Reels) were produced: the first about the Pavilion, its importance to the event, and data on the impact of meat production on the planet, as well as the FDA announcement attesting to the safety of Upside Foods cultured meat for human consumption. In the second video, the three types of alternative proteins, their main characteristics, and their possible impacts concerning sustainability were explained. With this action, 79,594 people were reached on Instagram and Facebook. Furthermore, the videos were played 78,510 times and had great engagement, generating 5,894 interactions (shares, saves, likes, and comments).
In 2022, GFI Brasil demonstrated, once again, excellence in its internal processes through several positive results. Among them: zero turn over, selective processes completed with efficiency, and result of 97% in our engagement survey, indicating overall satisfaction.
Eight new members were hired for our team by a virtual and optimized selection process, which made recruitment more agile and effective. Our team currently has 24 members and we are proud to say that we had zero turnover in 2022. We credit this to our differentiated human resources model, which generates a diverse, humane, and equitable work environment that results in a high rate of talent retention and development. Our culture is based on mutual respect, caring for emotional health, and on creating processes that collaborate for the well-being and professional growth of all.
Our engagement survey has been applied annually since 2020, and in 2022 we achieved 97% engagement, an excellent result that reflects the overall satisfaction of the team. The objective is to capture the perceptions of the team regarding our internal and management processes. The survey encompasses areas such as leadership and management, emotional health, positions and salaries, benefits, integration, and interaction between areas nationally and globally. The data are analyzed with caution and transparency, and the results are presented to everyone, as well as actions are planned based on this information, with the commitment that they will be fulfilled during the subsequent year. In addition to the survey, GFI Brasil has official and anonymous channels for suggestions, complaints, and reports.
By a robust feedback process, our team designs their own development plans, with follow-up from their respective managers, giving teams autonomy to carry out their ambitions and potential. The focus is to emphasize and highlight each individual's strengths, enabling continuous development based on positive feedback, one of the pillars of GFI's organizational culture.
GFI participates globally in a rigorous audit process aimed at analyzing the quality of our financial and organizational processes. Since 2019, we have received approval of our processes without restrictions, and 2022 was no different. Our operations have been carried out with compliance, excellence, and organization, with total transparency in the use of our resources.
Every year, GFI Brasil plans two moments of meetings for the whole team: a virtual retreat and another in person. After 2 years of pandemic, we had our first face-to-face contact with the team in 2022, at a meeting planned by our Operations team. In addition to bringing the team closer as a whole, the retreat served to integrate the areas, engagement activities, planning and presentation of strategies, objectives, and main achievements of each of the areas.
All the work developed by GFI is offered free of charge to society and we can only do it because we have the support of our family of donors. We maximize the donations we receive by seeking greater efficiency in the use of resources.
Such recognitions reflect our efforts to ensure that our work is done in a strategic, efficient and transparent manner. Annually, GFI Brasil undergoes an audit process, where all our expenses are analyzed by an external consultancy.
Currently, a large part of our resources come from international donors, mostly from the United States. However, we seek to build our network of Brazilian supporters to ensure our financial independence.
Find out how you can be part of this transformative work, click the button below and consider making a donation to GFI Brasil.