- The Meati Foods Mega Ranch opens in Thornton, Colorado Thursday, positioning the fermented meat analog company closer to its goal of a national launch. The company expects the facility to make enough products out of mycelium to supply more than 7,000 retailers and restaurants.
- The facility is larger than 100,000 square feet and, when operating at full capacity, will produce more than 45 million pounds of product a year. Meati claims the Mega Ranch will meet or exceed the amount of meat produced by the nation’s largest traditional ranches.
- Meati’s steaks and chicken cutlets have previously been available through online orders, a few restaurants in Colorado and Arizona and at a few retail stores.
Meati CEO and Co-Founder Tyler Huggins has said he plans for Meati to be the market leader in meat alternatives by 2025. The company has spent the last year ramping up to where the company can get to that point.
This massive facility opening will help to get its product on shelves around the country. Meati projects it will close out 2023 with more than $50 million in revenues.
The development and build-out of the Mega Ranch was made possible by its $150 million Series C funding round, which closed last summer. The facility, which is one of few in the world producing mycelium meat analogs at this scale, is a place where Meati can grow, harvest, process and package its products, according to a written statement from the company.
In an email, a company spokesperson said the facility is the first of its kind, prioritizing sustainable energy and waste features.
Meati is one of several newer companies using mycelium — or mushroom roots — to make meat analogs. Companies that use mycelium say that their products can accurately mimic the appearance, texture and taste of actual meat, but without the environmental, health and financial costs of producing and raising actual animals.
Mycelium analog makers tout the filamented root structures of mycelium, which can naturally mimic the structure of whole cuts of meat. They also say their products are more clean label and less processed than plant-based analogs. Mycelium also tends to naturally be more nutritionally dense than plant-based products, which rely on a variety of processed ingredients to make something that looks and tastes similar to meat.
Meati’s current portfolio includes the first-ever alternative protein steak, including a carne asada version, as well as chicken analogs including the Meati Classic Cutlet and Meati Crispy Cutlet. Last year, Huggins said that while Meati has been able to make prototypes of a wide array of meat analogs, it was going to stick to that “core four” of products while it worked toward building a brand.
The new facility will give Meati a new degree of scale. The company has previously said its main path to commercialization runs through the grocery store, and the Mega Ranch will help it get there. The company says it can use fermentation to grow a teaspoon of spores into hundreds of cows’ equivalent of whole-food protein in a few days.
The company has been preparing for a large scale retail launch since hiring General Mills veteran Scott Tassani as its president in late 2021. Tassani has vast experience in forging partnerships, getting products on shelves, creating and growing new categories, keeping products relevant and finding M&A opportunities.
The Mega Ranch is just the beginning. Meati is also planning a larger facility, the Giga Ranch, which would be able to produce hundreds of millions of pounds annually. The company said in an email it is currently laying the groundwork for that one with engineering designs and working to choose a location.