Six years before the deadline to meet the primary goal of the Paris Agreement—preventing the planet from warming more than 1.5 ºC—few questions are as disturbing as this: is it still possible to avert a climate catastrophe?

No one knows for sure, but doubt makes us want to find faster answers and global and systemic solutions. And, for the first time in history, it seems that we are genuinely committed to solving the challenge that puts compliance with the Agreement at risk: mitigating the contribution of food systems to the worsening of the climate crisis.

Food production, especially of animal origin, is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Around 34% of all emissions are generated by producing what we eat, with 17% of this total coming from the production of animals for human consumption.
This topic only began to be seriously discussed at COP 27, held in Egypt in 2022, thanks to the efforts of GFI and other civil society organizations, which organized a pavilion to expose the problems and present solutions to feed the global population without destroying the planet. 

The movement was not in vain, and in 2023, many advances could be celebrated at COP 28, held in Dubai. On the first day of the Conference, we witnessed the commitment of 134 countries, including Brazil, to producing more sustainably by signing the UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action. In the following days, we participated in launching the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) “What’s Cooking“ report, which presents alternative proteins as a viable and scalable solution to the climate crisis.
COP 28 in Dubai
In addition, Brazil, Cambodia, Norway, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone formed the Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation, intending to achieve more ambitious results in the field of food, focusing on adaptation and resilience, tackling the climate crisis, ensuring food and nutritional security, and preserving nature and biodiversity.

Another victory was the inclusion of food systems and agriculture in the Global Stocktake, a document that countries use to prepare their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are the goals that each nation self-determines to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

GFI is committed to helping Brazil lead the changes needed to create a more sustainable food system by diversifying our protein sources. Rural producers, industries, and startups will play a crucial role in the development of plant-based foods, cultivated or obtained through fermentation; students, researchers, and science and technology institutions will be fundamental in identifying and solving the challenges of these new foods; governments and regulatory agencies will create mechanisms to ensure the safety of these foods, the investments in developing them, and the rules for their fair trade. 

Each segment has a GFI team to unlock processes, create connections, train people, invest in research, produce and disseminate knowledge, and support new businesses. This report discusses this, and it is an indescribable opportunity to tell you what we did in our sixth year in Brazil.

Happy reading, and always count on us.

The impact of
GFI in numbers

approved in research programs (InovAmazônia)
R$ 1
invested in open-access research (InovAmazônia)
enrolled in our online course “The Science of Alternative Proteins”.
organized or supported by our team
from all regions of the country visited to mobilize innovation ecosystems
published in the press:
  • 53.5% in highly relevant vehicles
  • 95% in a positive tone
  • 13 million BRL in editorial value
impacted monthly by social media and newsletters


Consolidation, new launches, and a lot of innovation in the alternative proteins market

1.1. Cultivated meat

2023 was a year marked by numerous advances in the cultivated meat market, and, in Brazil, it was no different. In addition to fundamental regulatory advances, companies and startups began to announce projects, and the first government investments were announced. 

The Araucária Foundation, a research funding agency from Paraná, announced an investment of 5.7 million BRL in cultivated meat, which the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), State University of Maringá (UEM), and Catholic University of Paraná (PUC-PR) will implement in constructing a laboratory, purchasing equipment, and granting research scholarships. The investment from Paraná is in addition to the federal resource of 2.48 million BRL for a hybrid sausage project (vegetable + cultivated) from EMBRAPA, offered through the Foodtechs notice from FINEP, an innovation promotion agency linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations.
Meanwhile, JBS has begun constructing the world’s largest cultivated meat protein plant in Spain. The installation of BioTech Foods will make JBS (the company’s majority shareholder) one of the global leaders in cultivated meat. With an investment of 41 million USD, the first commercial-scale industrial facility is scheduled to open in 2024. Furthermore, in partnership with the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), the company signed an agreement to promote research on cultivated meat in Brazil. The deal predicts transferring facilities at the JBS Biotechnology Innovation Center to perform scientific work.

We have also made historic advances in the startup field. Startups Cellva and Sustineri Piscis performed their first prototypes’ tastings and applications, cultivated pork fat (Cellva) and cultivated fish cake (Sustineri).
Cultivated chicken meat – Upside Foods

1.1.1. Main results

Regulatory advancement: resolution RDC Nº 839

Regulatory advancement: ANVISA presented its draft of a new version of the regulation of new foods, updating the previous one from 1999. Among the regulatory proposals presented is the definition that cultivated meat is a new food (thus avoiding being regulated under the rules of animal meat) and the perception that there may be specific guidelines for certain food categories, paving the way for the adoption of a single protocol for the exchange of information between the regulator and companies. Both points were suggested in the Regulatory Study on cultivated meat, prepared by ITAL (Institute of Food Technology) throughout 2021, commissioned by GFI Brazil, and presented to ANVIS in 2022.

Food safety

GFI Brazil, in partnership with UNICAMP, conducted an unprecedented study that maps hazards and presents control measures to guarantee the safety of cultivated meat. The objective was to develop a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Plan for a target cultivated meat product. Many hazards identified, such as residues of veterinary drugs and processing aids that may remain in the final product, microorganisms originating from donor animals, or handling failures during the process, are already known to the conventional food industry. In other words, the tools and management systems typically used in the traditional food industry, such as HACCP, are also helpful in guaranteeing the safety of foods made by cellular cultivation.

1.2. Vegetable proteins (plant-based)

According to data from Euromonitor’s Passport platform, in 2022, the market for vegetable substitutes for meat and seafood in Brazil reached 821 million BRL in retail sales, a 42% growth compared to 2021. The trade of vegetable milk reached 612 million BRL in retail sales, an increase of 15% compared to the previous year.

Today, our alternative protein analogs market has at least 107 companies exporting products to around 30 countries. In 2023, according to Mintel, 22 products categorized as meat substitutes (excluding tofu and tempeh) were launched, practically the same number of launches as the previous year. The difference occurred in the diversification of formats of the products launched, reducing the proportion of launches in the format of hamburgers and increasing the share of launches in pieces, cubes, shredded, and other forms.
The difference occurred in the diversification of formats of the products launched, reducing the proportion of launches in the format of hamburgers and increasing the share of launches in the form of pieces, cubes, shredded and others.

To create a market that increasingly has a national identity, with ingredients from our food culture, produced by our own agribusiness, we developed a mapping of the country’s primary sources of vegetable protein, aiming to create a market with an increasing national identity, with ingredients from our food culture produced by our agribusiness. We also conducted a study to evaluate the nutritional quality of plant-based meat products available on the shelves. We connected with rural producers, industries, and researchers to understand how beans can be further incorporated into the alternative protein sector.
Plant-based cutlets – Verdali

1.2.1. Main results

Publication of the “Study of national vegetable proteins with potential for application in plant-based analogs”

Developed in partnership with UNICAMP, the objective of the study was to evaluate 18 vegetable raw materials grown in Brazil, such as corn, rice, and beans, to understand which ones have the potential to be used to develop ingredients for the plant-based sector. The study, conducted by researchers and professors from the School of Food Engineering at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), considered technical and economic characteristics of national plant species and waste from their production chain.

Development of the “Nutritional Study of Vegetable Meat Analogs”

This study evaluated labels of 349 plant-based foods analogous to meat products, such as hamburgers, meatballs, breaded meats, kibbeh, koftas, hot dogs, sausages, mortadella, bacon, among others, using the NutriScore indicators, NOVA classification, and the Nutritional Profile established by ANVISA’s RDC 429/2020 to analyze their nutritional quality. The results showed that, on average, vegetable analogs of meat products have lower levels of saturated fat and sodium and higher levels of carbohydrates and fiber. Regarding quality indicators, the study found out that 80% of vegetable meat analogs were classified as A, B, and C by NutriScore and 68% as having good nutritional quality by RDC 429/2020 (ANVISA), i.e., without warning front labeling for high in saturated fat or high in sodium. Today, we have even more arguments to affirm that, in fact, Brazilian vegetable meat products can contribute favorably to a balanced and healthy diet. The complete study will be released in 2024 through an article by Prof. Dr. Veridiana Vera de Rosso from UNIFESP.

Far beyond soybeans and peas, beans are the new national bet and can generate significant opportunities for rural producers

The reduction in the prices of plant-based foods and the inclusion of rural producers in the alternative protein industry are crucial items for this market to grow and for more people to be able to consume their products regularly. To do this, we have to reduce production costs, including, for example, more national ingredients in the composition of these foods and design strategies that facilitate and encourage farmers’ entry into this market. With this in mind, we have invested in a series of initiatives to make Brazilian beans a viable, cheap, and culturally relevant vegetable source of protein.

With the support of bean cooperatives that donated grains for testing, the equipment company Neuman & Esser that made its Test Center available to process the bean grains, and the Federal University of Santa Catarina that was contracted to carry out the final analysis of the ingredients generated from beans, we started a pilot project to create a starchy flour and a bean protein concentrate. In 2024, some ingredient and food companies will check the feasibility of applying these ingredients in their formulations. If the tests are positive, a bean processing plant can be installed within a rural producer cooperative . Broken beans, which will be the input for the pilot project, are considered waste or an ingredient for animal feed by rural producers but could result in a product with high added value.

1.3. Fermentation

The fermentation sector made essential leaps forward in 2023. Future Cow received almost 2 million BRL investments to produce its first batch of “milk” using precision fermentation technology. Typcal, in turn, developed a chicken breast from mycelium fermentation and was approved for one of the best international acceleration programs, MassChallenge. Furthermore, Typcal was the only startup in Latin America to pass the Hello Tomorrow contest and will have the opportunity to exhibit its products in France in March 2024. Finally, they and the Araucária Foundation also raised funds to develop the Centelha program.

Chicken obtained through fermentation – Quorn

1.3.1. Main results

Chicken obtained through fermentation – Typical

Contracting of the study “Mapping the Development Stage of Fermentation Technology Applied to Alternative Proteins”

The publication was commissioned to identify the potentials and challenges of fermentation technologies, the bottlenecks, and opportunities for large-scale production and to develop a strategic plan for developing this technology in Brazil. The study will be published in 2024.

Annual retreat – GFI Brazil

1.4. Discover other GFI Brazil initiatives to accelerate the development of the alternative protein sector

Free online course

In 2023, more than 900 students signed up for our free online course, “The Science of Alternative Proteins.” Given the success of the initiative among Brazilian students and educational institutions, we produced five new classes, which will be added to the platform in the first quarter of 2024, and we translated all the content already available into Spanish to offer other countries in Latin America the high-quality content produced by our team.

Data curation and offering

In 2023, we dedicated ourselves to surveying, updating, categorizing, and expanding our database. With this initiative, we seek to contribute to decision-making by governments, companies, and startups, in addition to facilitating access for researchers, students, and the press to quality information related to health, sustainability, and the market for plant-based foods grown and obtained by fermentation. We use reports and analyses published by reference institutions, such as IPCC, FAO, OECD, EMBRAPA, and IBGE, among others, to compose the information.

Alt. Protein Project Brasil

With 59 groups of students in 20 countries committed to promoting the topic of alternative proteins in the academic environment, the Alt Protein Project has two groups of Brazilian students at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Instagram and LinkedIn) and the State University of Campinas (Instagram). In August 2023, the group of students at UFMG implemented a course focused on alternative proteins, promoting the journal club and a series of seminars. UNICAMP’s group of students promoted the round table “Alternative proteins and society” broadcast on YouTube, and the video already has 476 views. In addition, the group held events with the campus’s scientific community, with events such as “Meatless Monday,” and began implementing the subject of alternative proteins in postgraduate studies. The two groups are organizing the National Congress on Alternative Proteins, which will take place in July 2024.

Teaching plan for professors

We created the Teaching Plan for courses in Alternative Proteins to guide interested professors on the suggested minimum content in alternative proteins. The plan has inspired professors from universities across the country to discuss in class the importance of new technologies for producing sustainable, safe, and tasty food without using animals. This year, the undergraduate courses in Animal Science at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and Biological Sciences at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) included specific subjects on alternative proteins in their curricula based on our Teaching Plan. The new subjects offered are “Introduction to Cellular Zootechnics” (UFPR) and “Cellular Agriculture with a Focus on Cultivated Meat” (UFMG). Another 53 educational institutions across the country also accessed the resource.


We traveled around Brazil to get to know our vocation in innovating up close

In 2023, GFI Brazil maintained its close and strategic relationship with the alternative protein sector. There were more than 600 interactions with at least 110 companies in information-sharing initiatives, connections, support in market positioning and product launches, and regulatory matters, among other activities.

2.1. Main results

Visits to regional innovation ecosystems

The visits occurred intending of helping Brazil develop an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation in alternative proteins, in addition to articulating a robust and well-structured ecosystem that allows the country to produce technologies that serve the national market. In total, we visited eight cities in seven states in all regions of the country: Belo Horizonte-MG, Campinas-SP, Cuiabá-MT, Curitiba-PR, Florianópolis-SC, Manaus-AM, Salvador-BA, and São Paulo-SP. During the project, 20 Innovation Environments (Incubators, accelerators, hubs, and coworkings) were engaged; 16 R&D Centers and Innovation and Technology Centers – NITs; 7 research laboratories; 12 companies and associations; 7 technology parks; 140 researchers.

Produção da nova versão do Guia para Startups

Acreditando na vocação natural do Brasil no campo da inovação e empreendedorismo, estamos atualizando uma das nossas mais importantes ferramentas, o Guia para Startups. O documento funciona como um roteiro para que as startups percorram o caminho certo para criarem um negócio de alimentos de sucesso no mercado de proteínas alternativas. A nova versão irá trazer conteúdos que englobam estratégias de relacionamento entre empresas e universidades, captação de recursos, investimentos, modelagem de novos negócios, design de soluções, além de depoimentos e cases de sucesso de empreendedores brasileiros.
Cultivated pig fat – Cellva

Connecting new businesses to market opportunities

After the publicity and engagement work carried out by GFI Brazil on the Argentine open innovation programs Glocal and Kamay Code, Brazilian startups were selected to develop proofs of concept with their technologies together with large food industries. Glocal selected the startup Cellva, and Kamay Code selected the startup Typcal. We also managed to engage the Biominas accelerator to include alternative proteins as one of the focal lines of its pre-acceleration program, where the startup Pas Biotec was selected and successfully completed the program.

Chicken burger obtained through fermentation – Typcal

Support for fundraising for investments

We also connect several investors and venture builders with Brazilian startups. As one of the public results, Venture Building Rook and the startup Pas Biotec, now called Arkbio, received investment. Finally, we also made several connections between large industries and startups in the sector. While many are still in negotiations, we can highlight Typcal, which was connected with AMBEV and is currently being accelerated by the company.


We value and invest in Brazilian biodiversity!

The Biomes Program was born in 2021 with the aim of financing research to transform plant species native to Brazilian biomes into ingredients for the alternative protein industry. The year 2023 was marked by the first results of this initiative, with the closure of the first edition, developed with support from the Climate and Land Use Alliance, in addition to the continuity of the research projects of the second edition and the approval of new studies of the InovAmazônia Project, carried out in partnership with the JBS Fund for the Amazon.

3.1. Main results

Completion of the first edition of the Biomes Program

The first six projects of the Biomes program have been completed, producing a range of innovative ingredients with great potential for application in vegetable meat analogs. The next step is to take these promising results off the lab bench and onto supermarket shelves. Discover the projects and learn how to support them by accessing the program page. Check out the series of videos with details of three projects from the edition.

Contracting of research projects for the InovAmazônia Project

With support and financial contributions from the JBS Fund for the Amazon, seven research projects were contracted through the InovAmazônia Project: Ingredients for the Vegetable Food Market. 2.7 million BRL will be invested to carry out research using plant species such as açaí, Brazil nuts, cupuaçu, babaçu, tucumã, cocoa, guaraná, and fungi from the Amazon region. Among the expected results are the development of proteins, fibers, oils, pigments, and aromas that can improve the sensory, technological, and nutritional aspects of vegetable meat analogs.


We influence the global agenda for alternative proteins

In 2023, we intensified our efforts to promote alternative proteins as one of the solutions to combat the climate crisis. With just under six years to go until 2030, it is increasingly urgent that efficient strategies to contain global warming are recognized in privileged and media spaces such as the COP, as this contributes to the development of public policies and attracts relevant investments for the sector. Furthermore, we also expanded our influence to Chilean lands, where we connected with research institutions and contributed to regulatory agendas.

4.1. Main results

Intersectoral meeting in Bonn

Between one COP and another, intersessional meetings occur for operational definitions and technical dialogues among negotiators. In June 2023, GFI Brazil followed the intersessional negotiations in Bonn, Germany, and co-organized, in partnership with Proveg, the event “Unlocking the Potential of Alternative Proteins for Food Systems Transformation”. After the event, which reached the maximum capacity of the venue, there was significant repercussion among those interested in the sector, including journalists and representatives from other organizations, who contacted GFI to learn more about alternative proteins.

Participation in COP 28 in Dubai

GFI Brazil participated in COP28 in Dubai between December 1st and 11th, intending to strengthen the image of alternative proteins as a climate solution, build relationships with Latin American negotiators and develop their familiarity with alternative proteins as a climate solution, and influence country contributions to the Global Stocktake – GST and other COP28 resolutions to consider commitments focused on food systems in the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs.

Launch of the Global Coalition for Alternative Proteins

We took advantage of our participation at COP 28 to launch the Global Coalition for Alternative Proteins (CGPA), created to bring together stakeholders committed to recognizing and promoting alternative proteins as a critical solution to the climate crisis. In addition to raising awareness and promoting concrete actions, the CGPA aims to establish a forum for open dialogue among members and will facilitate discussions to identify barriers to entry, share best practices, and collaboratively develop solutions to overcome these obstacles. To learn more and join the CGPA, please visit the website and connect with the Coalition on Instagram.

Participation in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

As new food sources and production systems develop, it is essential to discuss the trends, impacts, and challenges regarding food safety that may be faced in the next 5 to 15 years. Therefore, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) coordinated meetings to discuss safety issues in plant-based food production, precision fermentation, and 3D food printing. In addition, the global scenario of new food sources in the future was mapped. GFI Brazil and 25 other experts worldwide attended the meeting, whose summary of the findings highlights data gaps and research needs across the three focus areas. The safety issues discussed at this meeting aim to guide the development of standards and other management measures to boost the sector, protect consumer health, and ensure fair trade between nations.

Chile Mission

GFI went to Santiago, Chile, to connect with researchers working on alternative protein innovation in the country. Our goal was to understand the maturity of the local alternative protein scientific environment, with a special focus on the areas of fermentation and cultivated meat. The mission involved visits to the Universidad de Chile and Universidad Catolica de Chile, and meetings with three alternative protein startups (Sticta Biologicals, Luyef, and Done Properly) and the Agencia Chilena para la Inocuidad y Calidad Alimentaria (ACHIPIA), an advisory committee of the Ministry of Agriculture. On the occasion, GFI’s actions to contribute to regulating cultivated meat in Brazil and around the world were presented.


We are a high-impact institution that inspires

GFI Brazil implemented a series of actions aimed at the growth and qualification of the team, such as: we carried out hiring, ensured the transparency and efficiency of the use of resources to perform our work through financial and internal audits, promoted diversity and inclusion, conducted engagement research, adopted measures for efficiency and effectiveness of communication, training, among others. These initiatives demonstrate GFI Brazil’s commitment to transparency, corporate responsibility, and the well-being of employees. Below is more detailed information about these initiatives.
Annual retreat – GFI Brazil

5.1. Main results

Team growth

In 2023, we hired six new employees for our team. These hires will strengthen our ability to meet the growing demands of our projects in the areas of corporate engagement, public policy, communications, human resources, and executive assistance.

Financial audit

The thorough assessment of our financial operations plays a key role in ensuring our work’s transparency, compliance, and efficiency. The audit, completed successfully and without reservations, reflects our team’s commitment and exemplary collaboration. More than a legal requirement, the audit represents a commitment to our donors, partners and the community we serve. It is a reflection of our dedication and responsibility with the resources entrusted to us, ensuring that each donation is used efficiently and for the intended purposes.

Internal audit

GFI Brazil’s internal process audit aims to evaluate our internal processes effectiveness, efficiency and compliance, analyzing policies, procedures, controls, and records, identifying failures, risks and inefficiencies that may affect productivity and compliance. In addition to preventing problems, the audit helps improve decision-making and ensure that the organization complies with regulations, avoiding possible legal penalties. This 2023 stage was also completed successfully, without any reservations.


GFI is aware of the legal obligation that imposes on companies to promote training programs aimed at combating harassment in the workplace. As an organization committed to corporate responsibility and the well-being of our employees, we consider this initiative essential and mandatory. Our focus goes beyond law enforcement. We are committed to creating a genuinely safe, inclusive and healthy work environment. To fulfill this commitment, in 2023, we launched two programs: Anti-Harassment Training and Ergonomics Training for the entire team.

The launch of our leadership training program, which began in December 2023, represents a highly relevant initiative for the professional development of our managers and the strengthening of our team as a whole. This program addresses a series of crucial topics for leadership development, exploring the role of leaders and the importance of effective team and people management.

Engagement Survey

At the end of every year, GFI Brazil carries out an Engagement Survey. In an anonymous format, its main objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of our internal practices and identify improvement opportunities. We seek to identify what we are doing appropriately and what can be improved. In 2023, we recorded a participation of 95% of our employees and as results we identified a high level of engagement in all areas assessed and that our employees demonstrated satisfaction and commitment concerning essential topics, such as management, leadership, feedback, career, belonging, inclusion, emotional health, and GFI actions. We received a total of 230 constructive comments, including compliments and suggestions for improvement, which will be essential for us to continue improving our organizational culture. The results of this survey were presented in a transparent and comprehensive way to the GFI Brazil team, and the actions we planned based on the insights obtained were also supported. We are committed to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and heard, thereby contributing to the continued success of our organization.

Annual retreat

In 2023, we held two meetings with the entire GFI Brazil team. The first took place in August, virtually, and the second in November, on a farm in the interior of São Paulo. The in-person meeting included planning activities, communication training, and a lecture on environmental racism and its relationship with climate change and food insecurity, in addition to many free moments and team engagement dynamics.

Diversity and Inclusion

Seeking to cultivate a work environment that values diversity and inclusion, in 2023 we developed a series of initiatives to experience practices and share reflections that are important for our team and society. The racial diversity group Cida Bento provided, during weekly team meetings, a valuable, playful space to talk about environmental racism, privileges, meritocracy, culture, art, reparations, and quotas, among many others. The Grupo de Mães created a safe space for mothers to discuss the challenges of balancing motherhood, professional responsibilities and personal achievements. The two affinity groups will continue with their actions in 2024.

Monthly newsletter

In 2023, we launched the internal communication newsletter, “Conectados no GFI Brazil,” to inform about news, align organizational objectives and goals with the team, share policies and procedures, foster integration, encourage participation, and strengthen organizational culture. The first edition, launched on 12/14/2023, had a celebratory character, addressing the opportunity to adopt this communication tool, as well as the achievements of the internal public during the year. In partnership with the Human Resources and Operations team, it was possible to map information, produce content and categorize it. The newsletter is one of the actions foreseen in the results of the internal communication evaluation research, it is written in Portuguese and has a monthly frequency.

Help GFI Brazil transform the future of food

All the work carried out by GFI is offered free of charge to society and we are only able to carry it out because we count on 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 strategically, efficiently, and transparently.

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. To find out how you can be part of this transformative work, please access the link below and consider donating to GFI Brazil.

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