We no longer have the luxury of tackling obesity and climate change separately, says Quorn’s sustainable development manager Tess Kelly, who revealed the brand is committed to launching a complete nutritional review of its product portfolio.
Startups developing innovative food and ingredients, including alt-proteins, raised more funding in the first half of 2020 than all of 2019, according to AgFunder‘s recent Agrifoodtech Mid-Year Investment Review.
Emergy Inc. has raised just more than $28.2 million in its Series A funding round as it continues to try to perfect plant-based steaks and other cuts of meat. The Boulder company raised the money from 44 investors, according to a disclosure to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.
Singapore’s VisVires New Protein and Switzerland’s Redalpine co-led the Series A round, with existing investors Happiness Capital — an affiliate of Hong Kong food brand Lee Kum Kee — and Joyance Partners also participating. Mushlabs uses liquid fermentation technology to grow mycelia, the ‘roots’ of mushrooms, for use in the manufacturing of alt-protein and meat replacement products.
There are few things that Eben Bayer hasn’t tried to make out of mushrooms. Over the past decade, the CEO of incubator Ecovative, which develops commercial applications for mushroom materials, has made packaging, textiles, insulation, and furniture out of fungus. This fall, through spinout Atlast Food, Bayer is launching an even more ambitious product: mushroom bacon—the first, he hopes, of a whole new category of mushroom meat alternatives.
Growing consumer interest in plant-based meat and seafood analogs is leading to more innovation and investment in the alternative protein food sector. Entering into this arena is new company Legendary Vish, which is creating 3D-printed salmon fillets made from high value plant-based ingredients, including mushroom proteins and algae extracts.
The market for lab-grown and plant-based meat products will grow to an estimated $140 billion by 2029. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have cornered the market as the Tyson and Cargill of alt-beefs, but plenty of smaller companies are cropping up to cater to the consumer demand for plant-based meat alternatives. The newest is Prime Roots: a direct-to-consumer company launched in early 2020 that makes plant-based bacon, salmon burgers, chicken fingers, and more.
Ecovative Design, founded as a class project by two 2007 graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, made a name for itself as a “green” company that used mushroom roots and agricultural waste to create packaging material that, unlike ubiquitous Styrofoam, is biodegradable and compostable.
The toolkit for meat-free formulators is growing by the day, as firms explore everything from yeast, bacteria and algae to new sources of plant-protein as source materials, although most still use extruded soy, peas or wheat, Meati co-founder Tyler Huggins told FoodNavigator-USA.