LONDON — The future for protein alternatives is bright, according to GlobalData, which estimates the market will continue to build on its current growth over the next few years as alternatives close the price, taste and texture gaps with conventional proteins.

In addition to factors like increased consumer awareness of cruelty-free products, novel source availability and newly developed business models, the UK-based data and analytics company cited interest from venture capital investors as the primary driver of the market’s rapid growth in 2022.

“The emergence of alternative proteins, which include plant proteins, dairy alternatives, meat and seafood substitutes, is attracting VC investors’ attention,” said Pranjali Mujumdar, a disruptive tech analyst at GlobalData. “Plant-based proteins constitute around 50% of investors’ deals and is the most funded category, with a significant volume of funding going into a small group of startups.”

Venture capital groups invested $1.05 billion into alternative protein producers in the first half of 2022, a 174% increase from $384.13 million during the same period last year, according to the company.

“Technology investors, sensing an opportunity to capitalize on the increasing globalization and industrialization of food, are investing heavily in startup companies,” Mujumdar said. “The scale of interest and investment in alternate proteins seems to have intensified and there is a growing consensus that this trend is here to stay.”