A new system for feeding billions image of a drop of liquid being poured into a test tube in a laboratory
Health, Wealth
December 4, 2020

A new system for feeding billions

How Peter Diamandis and XPRIZE are solving food insecurity

By 2050, Earth’s population will reach 9.7 billion. The demand for high–protein products is increasing while the impact from meat–production practices is devastating our planet. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened food insecurity, food safety and access for many communities around the world. Furthermore, cities projected to face rapid population growth and wealth increase are experiencing surges in demand for poultry and fish as opposed to red meat – but the environmental impact of current production is devastating the planet.

More and more people are building wealth and moving into the middle class, and they want high-quality proteins that are not sustainable. We need to cut costs and environmental damage. We need a new system for food – and it is possible. We’ve done it in the past, with fertilizer, pesticides and farm equipment. Now it’s time to do it again. While there is increasing activity in utilizing plant-based and cultivated approaches to create meat alternatives, more work is needed to make it widespread.

For over 25 years, XPRIZE has led the world in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions and has convened the brightest minds from around the globe to tackle the planet’s greatest challenges. XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion is a four-year, $15M competition incentivizing teams to produce chicken and fish alternatives that replicate or outperform conventional protein in structure, versatility, sensory properties and nutritional profile, while having a lower comparable environmental footprint.

The competition is through a partnership with ASPIRE, a part of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), which funds research and runs global tech competitions. The prize is supported by The Tony Robbins Foundation. The Good Food Institute, an international nonprofit focused on cultivated meat and plant-based alternatives, will act as a team success partner throughout the competition.

In this exciting episode with XPRIZE Founder and Executive Chairman, Peter H. Diamandis, Tony talks about the inspiration behind the latest competition, $15M XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion. Peter has been named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune and he is the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation. He is also the executive founder of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world’s leaders on exponentially growing technologies.

As an entrepreneur, Diamandis has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital and education. He is cofounder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $250M investing in exponential technologies, and cofounder and vice chairman of Celularity, Inc., a cellular therapeutics company.

Diamandis is a New York Times bestselling author of two books: Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think and BOLD – How to Go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World. His newest book in this series of exponential technologies – The Future Is Faster Than You Think – was released in early 2020. He earned degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering from MIT and holds an MD from Harvard Medical School. Diamandis’ favorite saying is “the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”

These two men have so much to give to our planet. Solving world hunger while saving the environment? It’s the stuff of miracles, thanks to Tony and Peter and the brilliant minds of these competitors. This episode was republished with permission from XPRIZE: Future Positive.

Tony and Peter aren’t successful entrepreneurs because they have special talents. They’re not changing the world because they have more hours in the day than everyone else. So what is different about these two men? They’ve realized that the secret to living is giving. What makes their visions so powerful, so magnetic, is their sincere desire to change the world and leave it better than they found it. Contribution is one of the Six Human Needs – along with significance. These needs are so deeply ingrained, we often don’t realize they are driving us to do the things we do.

They also have a deep belief in themselves that prevents a fear of failure. They’re willing to take risks because they know that even when you fail – especially when you fail – you learn. As Peter says in the podcast, “The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea”: 99.9% may lose, but the 0.1% who make it create a revolution.

Listen to the podcast above to learn:
  • More about Tony’s personal fight against hunger
  • Four things our meat structure is doing
  • How to grow a healthier piece of protein that tastes great
  • The rules, criteria and prizes for the XPRIZE competition

Tony has made it one of his life’s missions to help feed as many people as possible. His family struggled to put food on the table growing up, and it was one stranger’s kindness that inspired Tony to give back as an adult. As a philanthropist, through his partnership with Feeding America, Tony has provided over 500 million meals in the last five years to those in need. He’s on track to provide 1 billion meals over the next five years.

He has also initiated programs in more than 1,500 schools, 700 prisons and 50,000 service organizations and shelters. He provides fresh water to 250,000 people a day in India in order to fight waterborne diseases, the number one killer of children in that country.


00:00:16 Tony’s fight against hunger
00:01:50 Welcome from Peter
00:03:02 The Learning XPRIZE
00:04:15 The grounds for the competition
00:04:42 Tony’s Thanksgiving as a child
00:06:30 Getting your head around the world hunger crisis
00:07:30 The problem with meat
00:07:51 Four things our current meat structure is doing
00:08:39 Animal impact on water
00:09:22 Stem-cell grown meat
00:10:00 Tony explains the criteria
00:10:38 Peter speaks to the current state of affairs
00:12:00 A desire for higher quality protein
00:12:38 Bringing the price down
00:13:34 In the kitchen
00:14:45 Tony partners with some amazing people
00:15:20 Two tracks for the competition
00:16:40 The goal is to make a dent in the problem
00:17:40 Peter talks about past XPRIZE results
00:19:20 “The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea”
00:20:20 What is food?
00:21:20 Tony talks about meeting people where they are
00:22:00 The rules
00:25:38 Prizes!
00:26:34 “Deadlines are what get people to accelerate, compete, push”
00:27:22 We create the future we desire
00:28:20 Tony’s teacher
00:30:40 More on XPRIZE

Food, water and air are our most basic needs. Food production and security is one of the most pressing problems facing our planet. If you have a passion for helping others and changing the planet, this is an issue that’s worth your attention. It won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take persistence and great leadership. But as Tony says, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” We must start tackling these issues – will it start with you?

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