The United States has been a world leader in the nascent alternative protein sector, which has quickly produced innovative, high-demand foods with lower carbon emissions than animal protein sources, while avoiding risk of zoonotic disease. These foods include meat and dairy products made from plants, fungi or mycoprotein, insects, algae, fermentation, and cultivated (“lab-grown” or “cell-based”) meat.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its induced economic downturn is threatening to wipe out the advances of the industry during an inflection point, when many companies are raising funds, launching production capacity, developing new products, or deploying them to market. Although the animal livestock industry has been at the center of the crisis’ negative impacts and sales of some plant-based meat products are thriving in grocery stores, the alternative protein industry is far from secure:

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