The Food Tech Landscape in Israel
Food tech innovation is exploding in Israel. Since 2020, the country has received nearly $1 billion from investors looking to bolster alternative protein companies. Today, there are over 400 food technology companies, 100 of which specialize in alternative proteins.
Much of Israel’s position as a leading innovator in the food sector can be attributed to its geography and political history. For decades, the country was isolated on a regional level due to a lack of peace and diplomatic relations with its neighbors. Today, it still lacks those relations with many of its Middle Eastern neighbors. In terms of natural resources, the country has limited land and little fresh water, not to mention long summers and an extensive desert.
Due to these circumstances, Israel has had no choice but to push the boundaries in technology to improve natural resource management and create systems for sustainable agriculture.
Israel as an Example for Innovation
The challenge of feeding an ever-growing population with scarce food supplies and amidst a changing climate is not for the faint of heart. But Israel’s strength in food tech syncs some of its most powerful advances in agriculture and technology throughout the last century.
Israel has become a powerful ag-tech model, investing in technologies like hydroponics, greenhouse construction, and water sanitation. The push for alternative proteins has followed suit, edging Israel to the forefront of the movement. Alternative protein generation, which is capable of slashing land and water requirements by 95% and 78% respectively, has become a natural and necessary path towards food security for the country. So much so that three of the first eight cultivated meat companies in the world got their starts in Israel.
Private business strategies and government policies are aligning to develop diverse and resilient food systems that can feed the country and flourish independently of climate conditions and the availability of water and land.
Government Supports Food Tech Research
Government backing has become a force for revolutionizing protein consumption in Israel. In 2022, the Israel Innovation Authority declared food tech, and specifically alternative proteins, as one of the top five national priorities for research and development, funneling $18 million into a group of 14 Israeli companies and 10 academic labs known as the cultivated meat consortium. These folks are collectively working to bring down the costs of cultivated meat and scale up production.
What’s more, the Alternative Protein Research Grant Programme budgeted $1 million towards programs to support research in new food technologies with The Good Food Institute (an Israeli non-profit think tank working to accelerate alternative protein innovation), the Israel Innovation Authority, and the Ministry of Agriculture. Israel’s strong pool of focused and knowledgeable individuals can help the country propel breakthrough solutions in sustainable food tech and cultivated meat.
While Israel will continue to import conventional meat, change is clearly on the horizon. From food tech incubators to nationwide programs and private investments, the country’s expanding food tech industry will hasten the integration of cultivated meat into the culinary landscape. The landscape will continue to evolve, with alternative proteins leading the way as part of a national and global movement.