How to Feed the Next Billion, According to XPRIZE

For almost 10 years, XPRIZE has held large-scale incentive competitions to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges such as fighting climate change, retraining a global workforce for the digital world, and pandemic response. With multimillion-dollar prizes awarded to the winning solutions, and advisors and judges representing a who’s who in science, technology, and humanitarianism, XPRIZE attracts innovators from around the world. 

Its next challenge is perhaps its most critical yet: how to feed the world. 

Specifically, to feed the next billion humans, XPRIZE is seeking “a more environmentally sustainable path to meeting emerging demand for meat products, while advancing food systems, and animal welfare.” 

Hundreds, if not thousands, of companies around the world are creating alternative proteins. To narrow it down, XPRIZE implemented a thorough application process in which food technology and production processes were carefully vetted by a team of experts in the alternative protein field. 

In a plot twist, XPRIZE specified that the key to feeding a growing population is “structured” proteins: chicken breast or fish filet analogs that “replicate the sensory properties, versatility, and nutritional profile of conventional chicken or fish.” (Sorry, burgers and nuggets!)

As soon as we heard of the $15 million competition, we raced to complete our submission – which included a 20-plus page technical analysis. 

XPRIZE’s team of experts in the alternative protein field carefully vetted the applications, validating the teams’ technologies and weighing their sustainability, nutritional value, and affordability. Ultimately, the experts selected Aqua Cultured Foods and 30 other teams as semifinalists. 

Over the next year, Aqua Cultured Foods will have the assistance of XPRIZE sponsors and partners as we develop and scale our products. 

Aqua Cultured Foods is honored to be selected as a semifinalist in XPRIZE’s Feed the Next Billion competition. This is a significant milestone for the company, as well as technical endorsement, given the comprehensive application process in which Aqua Cultured Foods’ technology and processes were evaluated.

During this three-year competition, semifinalists are tasked with producing 115 grams (four ounces) of a full chicken breast or fish filet alternative that replicates, or outperforms, the traditional counterpart across multiple aspects including: taste and texture, nutritional value, animal welfare, sustainability and accessibility. Aqua Cultured Foods will be presenting a whole-muscle cut fish filet alternative to the panel of judges at the first round of testing and judging in October 2022. If selected as a finalist, Aqua will continue on to the final judging round in early 2024 with a chance at winning a piece of the $15 million purse prize.

As a company focused on creating whole-cut seafood alternatives to feed the growing population and restore our oceans, we’re grateful that XPRIZE recognizes the need for these alternatives to save our planet from climate change and biodiversity loss. According to XPRIZE, “While there is increasing activity in utilizing plant-based, cultivated or blended approaches to create meat alternatives such as burgers, chicken nuggets, and ground fish, more work is needed to produce structured, nutritious, affordable, and versatile alternative chicken and fish products that are capable of competing with conventional products on the market.”

To learn more about XPRIZE and Feed the Next Billion Competition, click here.