- Food tech startup The Better Meat Co., closed an $8.1 million seed round led by Greenlight Capital and Green Circle Foodtech Ventures, according to a press release sent to Food Dive. Additional participation in the round came from Johnsonville Holdings, the parent company of Johnsonville Sausage, and Level VC. Combined with the money it raised in a pre-seed round in 2018, this brings the startup's total funding to $9.7 million to date.
- This startup produces plant protein-based meat enhancers for beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish and crab products that are allergen-free, clean label, and cost-competitive with conventional meats.
- Perdue Farms uses in its ingredients in its Perdue Chicken Plus line. Each serving of Perdue’s blended line of chicken nuggets, tenders and patties contain half a serving of vegetables as the nuggets and patties are made of cauliflower, chickpeas, plant protein and white meat chicken.
While the company did not announce a specific intended use for these funds, its statement said it was focused on providing its plant protein formulas to "major meat users." Already, it has partnered with Perdue Farms on its Chicken Plus line, which was announced last summer and hit grocer shelves across the country in September. The collaboration with a big meat company elevated its name and likely helped boost it chances of additional funding.
Since last year's pre-seed round and work with Perdue, the Better Meat Co. has also released two seafood ingredient blends onto the market that are being tested by several large seafood companies, IntraFish reported. The two-ingredient blends are a ground pollock analogue and a crab replacement.
Providing a potentially healthier nutrition label to meat and seafood companies allows them to appeal to a growing segment of flexitarian consumers. Many people are limiting or eliminating animal products from their diets due to reasons ranging from wanting to feel healthier and eat cleaner to concern for animal welfare and sustainability.
However, not all consumers are willing to give up meat entirely. For this reason, blended products sit comfortably at the crossroads of meat-eaters and occasional plant-based consumers, but are still able to carve off a slice of the plant-based protein and meat alternatives market that is projected to increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to a whopping $85 billion in 2030, according to investment firm UBS.
In addition to Perdue’s Chicken Plus line, other blended meat products include Hormel's Great Organic Blend Burger through Applegate and Tyson Foods' Raised & Rooted line. Where The Better Meat Co. fits in is as an ingredients provider that sells its plant-based proteins to other manufacturers looking for hybrid solutions. This positioning poises the startup for massive expansion as more companies experiment in the plant-based space.
Companies can use the startup's proteins in ratios between 30% and 50%, Food Navigator reported, and some applications are being tested with 100% of the company’s plant proteins, making them entirely meat-free. Unlike other plant-based additives, however, The Better Meat Co. focuses on providing protein content and not adulterating the taste and texture of animal-based protein.