Russia obtains its first Alt-Protein food technology accelerator


A new nonprofit called Association of Alternative Food Producers (AAFP) has partnered with a food awareness organization ProVeg to launch Russia’s very first animal-free protein incubator program. The program will support a range of alternative meat startups, from those working on cultured and plant-based products to those developing related technologies, such as scaffolding and 3D bioprinting.

The AAFP was founded by Tim Ponomarev and Julia Marsel, two graduates of the Berlin incubator ProVeg and founders of Greenwise vegetable meat company (not to be confused with the organic brand of the same name belonging to Publix). Their aim is to contribute to the growth of alternative proteins in Russia and Russian-speaking countries by supporting food companies and entrepreneurs.

Those admitted to the AAFP program, based in Moscow and the Kaluga region, will participate in four different modules. The modules will provide advice on marketing, fundraising, legal and regulatory matters, technology areas and business development, among others. Participants benefit from mentoring and other consultations, the opportunity to participate in special events and conferences, access to buyers, material suppliers and other professionals, as well as the opportunity to present proposals to potential investors.

Applicants must be based in the Russian market and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) or intend to concentrate their activities in this region. With the exception of companies developing cell-based meat, applicants must already have one or more products sold in the market.

A food technology accelerator in Russia that focuses on animal-free meat is a major milestone for the growth of alternative proteins in the country. Currently only about 1 percent of all Russians say they are vegetarians, and that not eating meat is still considered by many to be dangerous. However, mentalities are changing and while the alternative protein market is still very young, it is growing.

The AAFP incubator will open in 2021 (the exact date has not yet been communicated). Those interested in joining can apply here.

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Tanya S. Norvell

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