Lever China Alternative Protein Fund & Green Initiatives Partner to Advance Plant-Based Proteins in China

Published on by Green Initiatives

What IS the connection between your protein and our environment? If you have been asking the same question recently, read on below.

Livestock Farming versus Climate Change

Industrial agriculture is one of the most polluting sectors globally, while livestock farming is one of the leading causes of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Some people eat meat out of habit, some for the taste, upbringing or cultural dimension, and some due to popular advertisements from the meat industry (such as the one below) promoting meat as ‘manly thing’ or ‘high-in-protein’. All too often, even doctors, nutritionists and trainers will advise you to eat more protein, with foods, drinks and supplements loaded with extra protein.

However, the reality is quite different. The fact is that our obsession with animal protein and meat consumption is destroying our planet. 

Raising animals for meat and protein is an extremely land, water and pesticide-intensive process; beef and dairy, in particular, due to their water-use and resources spent on producing cattle-feed. In fact, 75% of global soy crops grown are used for feeding livestock.

Further, cattle waste releases methane, that has an effect on global warming 28 times higher than carbon dioxide. In his book, “Diet for a Poisoned Planet”, David Steinman estimates that 90-95% of all the toxic chemicals that humans ingest come from meat, fish, dairy and eggs; meat contains 14 times more pesticides than plants do and dairy has 5 times more.

Even The Guardian says that,

“Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth” 
in the biggest analysis to date that revealed huge footprint of livestock that provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland.
And if that was not enough, according to a Stanford report,
“animal foods don’t have fiber, and plant foods generally don’t have saturated fat. In this sense, it’s actually more beneficial to choose plant foods over animal foods.” 
There is simply no dearth of research to suggest that the traditional notion of protein from animals is healthier or more sustainable than plant-based protein. And there is mounting evidence on the need to reduce meat and dairy consumption, and switch to a plant-based diet from a health and environment point of view.

Hello Alternate-Protein!

Worldwide, there is a growing alternate-protein movement i.e. protein coming from plant-based sources and/or from new food-tech products.

Consumer interest in plant-based protein is increasing globally. The food industry is eager to capture the opportunity in this evolving market where animal rights, global warming and personal health are on top of the list, especially for younger consumers.

According to a McKinsey report,

“even though aggregate consumption of meat-based proteins worldwide is increasing, the overall growth rate is expected to decline by half. Plant-based food (the largest source of alternative protein) sales rose 17 percent in 2018 and the use of alternative protein as a food ingredient in consumer products is predicted to continue growing. Currently, the market base for alternative protein is approximately $2.2 billion compared with a global meat market of approximately $1.7 trillion, making the growth rate of the alternative proteins marginal to the overall meat market.”

Join China's Alternate-Protein Movement

Whether you are a plant-based food enthusiast, a meat-eater, an aspiring entrepreneur (or all of the above), if you are looking to make a career in the food industry, then this is a great opportunity for you to become part of the world’s largest market for alternative protein products. Already, plant-based protein was found to be the hottest trend of 2020.

The Lever China Alternative Protein Fund is backing plant-based and cell-cultivated meat and dairy companies across China. The fund is supported by Lever Foods, a Shanghai-based consultancy that advises on the alternative protein space. Corporate partners include the venture capital arms of food and beverage leaders COFCO and Yili, national industry trade group, The China Plant-Based Foods Alliance, and top global alternative protein ingredient and services companies Givaudan and Cremer, among others.

This joint investment fund and accelerator will invest 40 million RMB over the next four years in China-based entrepreneurs and early stage alternative protein companies, with Brinc providing a comprehensive three-month accelerator program for interested portfolio companies at their new 3,500 sqm space in Guangzhou. Up to 160 million RMB is available in potential follow-on funding from the Lever VC Fund.

In addition to providing capital, the team of Lever Fund will provide the following hands-on support to participating companies:

  • Personal connections to plant-based meat and dairy formulation experts who have helped created products for Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Ripple, and other leading global brands
  • Access to leading international alternative protein brands for joint venture partnerships
  • Strategic guidance on branding, marketing and market entry
  • Warm introductions to a wide range of domestic and international investors interested in alternative protein startups
  • Personal connections to procurement heads at leading restaurant, retail, FMCG and food service companies

To advance alternative-protein in China, Lever China Alternative Protein Fund and Green Initiatives are collaborating to drive the creation and adoption plant-based food in China.

Through collaborations focused on creating awareness of healthy, plant-based food consumption, we aim to inspire more individuals and start-ups to innovate and create products that will make plant-based food healthy, delicious, affordable and accessible to a larger population in the country.

About the Authors

This article was jointly written by Green Initiatives and Lever China Alternative Protein Fund. For any questions or feedback please write to us at info@greeninitiatives.cn or team@levervc.com.

To submit an application to the fund, please visit http://www.leverfund.cn/