Best of the web-June

By David Stevenson on Tuesday 13 July 2021

Best of the web-June
Image source: fake meat/Pixabay

Our monthly round-up of the best sector articles from the rest of the internet.

This really matters… probably missed this, but ignore at your peril

Be warned : company failures are emerging. Insect technology business falters

The Insect Technology Group Holdings UK Limited (ITG), AgriProtein's parent company, has entered into administration. Administrator, UHY Hacker Young, was appointed to manage the business and property of ITG Limited in February this year.  Jason Drew, non-executive director of ITG, is unable to comment on the process at this juncture, given that it is a legal process.

He said he will provide a fuller picture in due time.  AgriProtein was set up in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2008 to rear Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae on organic wastes and process them into a sustainable source of feed protein. In 2017, the business moved its global headquarters to London. It also announced then a strategy to partner with construction conglomerate Christof Industries to build 100 new factories worldwide. It attracted millions of investment monies, with it securing US$105m from a undisclosed, single listed investor in June 2018.

EU rejects plans for limits on plant based dairy

EU leaders have dropped plans to impose new restrictions on plant-based dairy products, which could have banned them from displaying allergen information, being sold in cartons and using images of their own products.

Terms such as “milk” and “yogurt” are still forbidden. It was confirmed that European Parliament representatives have withdrawn the proposals from EU negotiations over the Common Agricultural Policy, after a coalition of 21 environmental, consumer and animal welfare groups called on the EU to reject them. Climate activist Greta Thunberg had also spoken out against the plans, and over 450,000 people had signed a petition calling on the EU to drop them.

Worlds first meat free Burger King opens in Cologne : for a week

The restaurant, open from June seven to June 11, has teamed up with The Vegetarian Butcher to serve meatless Whoppers, vegan nuggets and even Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice creams.  Fast food giant Burger King has officially launched its first plant-based restaurant in Cologne this week, which will feature an entire menu without meat. Partnering with Unilever subsidiary The Vegetarian Butcher, the Cologne outlet is now serving hungry diners vegan versions of its signature items between June seven and June 11.

Even Cargill boss thinks plant based alts will eat into market of its products

According to a Reuters report, at a National Grain and Feed Association convention on June the fourth,  David MacLennan commented on the calls he received from Chinese authorities to accelerate production, despite the country importing a record amount of grain for feed purposes last year. He also underlined that the growth of plant-based will mean some market share loss in their beef production.

“Our analysis is that in……three to four years plant-based will be perhaps 10 per cent of the market. We’re a large beef producer and that is a big part of our portfolio. So there’s some cannibalisation that will occur," he said.

Review of BeyondMet’s second stab at faux chicken

Now that Beyond’s second attempt at vegan chicken tenders has been unveiled, it’s time for restaurants to decide if it’s good enough to add to the menu. So far, 400 restaurants have signed on. “Creating the texture of the bite you have that releases the flavour, the juices and the fat — that was very challenging,” says Dariush Ajami, Beyond’s chief innovation officer. “They came up with ways to package the ingredients to resemble the fatty, juicy mouthfeel of a real chicken tender.”

IPOs and market talk… meets the investing community

EatJust angling for $3bn IPO

Eat Just is reportedly targeting Q4 2021 or early 2022 for its IPO, which currently has a valuation of $3 billion, according to an Eat Just investor. Forbes was first to break the news after one of its contributors spoke to an anonymous investor in the company. To date, Eat Just has raised $440 million, with its most recent fundraise being a $200 million round led by Qatar Investment Authority earlier this year.

**Vegan friendly index investment firm launches new products**

After debuting the world’s first cruelty-free and climate-forward exchange-traded fund (ETF), the U.S. Vegan Climate ETF, vegan investment platform Beyond Investing has just expanded its existing range of animal-friendly investment products to offer a Europe Vegan Climate Index, Vegan World Index Certificate and U.S., U.K. and global vegan venture capital funds. Jersey-based Beyond Investing has unveiled new investment products in partnership with its affiliate Beyond Impact which are being offered to public and private markets thus providing more choices to investors and furthering the platform’s mission to end animal exploitation.

The company has been investing in alternative protein and plant-based companies since 2017 claiming that it is the world’s first and only vegan investment platform and behind the U.S. Vegan Climate Index, launched in 2018 and tracked by the U.S. Vegan Climate ETF since September 2019. The assets tracking the index which now includes the new US Vegan Climate Index Certificate has soared to a value of US$55 million.

Quorn owner raises $1 billion in IPO

Quorn’s parent company Monde Nissin has made its debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange, raising a total of 48.6 billion pesos (US$1.02 billion), marking the country’s biggest IPO. The proceeds will go towards fuelling the Manila-headquartered corporation’s plan to bring its meatless brand Quorn to more international markets and solidify its position in the plant-based protein space.

First Japanese plant based startup lists on US OTC market

Japanese alternative meat company Next Meats Holdings listed on the American OTC Market on January 26th as NEXT MEATS HOLDINGS, INC (NXMH) after acquiring an American SPAC, paving its path into the American stock market.

The rapidly growing company thus enters the US stock market with plans for worldwide expansion and NASDAQ listing in the future. Next Meats Holdings aims to be listed on NASDAQ in the future and plans to invest its resources into its product development, distribution, and relevant corporations.

As people all over the world are shifting their lifestyles and countries becoming more concerned with realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, alternative meat companies like Next Meats can be expected to grow even more.

Meatless Farms raising money on Crowdcube – live now in fund raising mode

£2.5m already raised against £2m target. Plant-based meat brand Meatless Farm is providing consumers an opportunity to “grab a share of the M…F… pie” by debuting its retail investor funding round on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube with hopes to raise £5 million( US$7M) in capital that will go towards product innovation and brand expansion.

British-based Meatless Farm is looking to raise £5 million in what is predicted to be one of the largest campaigns held on Crowdcube and will be offering consumers the chance to buy into the brand from £10 ($14), meaning that the investments will be converted into shares at a discounted price at the time of its next corporate equity funding round which is scheduled to happen by the end of this year.

and here on Crowdcube

Canadian vegan gummy bear lists on Canadian exchange

Canadian confectioner Yumy Bear that offers a line of low-sugar and vegan gummy will start trading on CSE in July under the symbol “YUMY” with an anticipated $50 million enterprise value, and plans to expand to the U.S. in 2022.


Benson Hill confirms SPAC plans valued at $2 billion

enson Hill is developing gene-edited and selectively bred versions of crops used in alt protein products, with the deal’s expected $625 million capital raise accelerating Benson Hill’s ability to drive down plant-based food costs. With the commercial production of its ultrahigh-protein soybean and yellow-pea protein concentrate set to begin next year, Benson Hill says it can develop soy and pea crop breeds that mature faster, have higher protein content, or taste better, thus saving time and resources in the production of alt protein products.

JPMorgan confirms Dunkin Donuts pulled BeyondSausage

"There is always a chance that the item will return; however, the locations said that to the best of their knowledge, there were no plans for this to take place in the immediate future," updates analyst Ken Goldman. JPMorgan has an Underweight rating on Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND).

Canadian vegan fast food chains lists in Canada

Currently operating a manufacturing facility and two restaurants in Canada, the newly named Odd Burger will open a further 20 outlets across North America in the next year including the US. After recently making its debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s Venture Exchange, the company has applied for a ticker symbol change and expects to trade under “ODD” on approximately July 5, 2021. In addition the restaurant chain will also adopt the name and image, rebranding as Odd Burger.

Zero sugar beverages business files for IPO

All Zevia beverages are made with a handful of simple, plant-based ingredients, contain no artificial sweeteners, and are Non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, Kosher, vegan, zero sodium and free of added color. As of 2020, Zevia is distributed in more than 25,000 retail locations in US and Canada through a diverse network of major retailers in the food, drug, mass, natural and ecommerce channels.

US Yogurt maker Chobani files for IPO with $10bn plus valuation

Chobani, which means shepherd in Turkish, makes yogurt, oatmilk, dairy- and plant-based creamers and probiotic beverages, and ready-to-drink coffee. It was founded in 2005 by Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant to the United States, who took a small loan and bought an old yogurt plant, according to its website. The first cup of Chobani Greek yogurt hit store shelves in 2007.

New products?......coming to a high street near you

Oxford Uni spin out Ivy Farms aims to debut cell based pork sausages in 2023

Ivy Farm Technologies, a spinout of Oxford University, wants to become the first British firm to commercialise cultured meat and says it will debut its cell-based pork sausages by 2023. Currently raising funds for its pilot R&D facility, the startup also revealed plans to roll out cultivated meatballs and beef burgers in the coming years.

Worlds first whole-muscle cut seafood analogue launching

Looking to become a first mover in the category, much like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods has done in the plant-based space, Aqua Cultured is set on disrupting aquaculture by growing the most realistic, sustainable, fish-free seafood on the market.


Wendy’s launches new spicy burger

US fast-food restaurant Wendy’s is aiming to break into the plant-based fast-food category by launching the new Spicy Black Bean Burger in selected stores. The international chain has also taken aim at one of its biggest rivals, accusing McDonald’s plant-based offerings of being “bland”.  “Certain plant-based creations have spawned a bland reputation for the category — looking at you McImpossible — but luckily, Wendy’s has spice in her DNA.” – Wendy’s, as reported by CNN

The Next Big Thing…..what we believe might become the ‘new new ‘thing

Biomilq says its made the world’s first cell-cultured human milk from mammary cells outside of the breast

BIOMILQ’s revolutionary supplemental feeding breakthrough is as close to breastmilk as possible. It contains the majority of nutritional complexities of breastmilk, with the practicality of formula.

Geltor launches world’s first “real” vegan collagen for the food and beverage industry

Firm claims it is an exact match for the bioactive amino acid core of Type 21 collagen. Founded by Alexander Lorestani and Nick Ouzounov in 2015, the San Leandro, California-based Geltor has created a computational biology platform that employs fermentation technology to produce sustainable “designer proteins” that can be used as replacements for animal-based collagen in food products and cosmetics.

Provenance Bio creates gelatin without animal proteins

The animal-free gelatin could address some of the issues with conventional gelatin production, such as contamination and inconsistent quality between batches. It also has a carbon footprint 50 times lower than animal gelatin, and Provenance says it will be improving the efficiency of production to decrease the environmental impact even further. The gelatin was developed from another of Provenance’s products, its animal-free collagen. Most types of synthetic collagen on the market are extremely expensive, but Provenance says it is working to bring costs down to under $15 per kilogram and hopes to soon achieve price parity with the conventional variety. It is already partnering with several companies that are interested in switching the collagen they use to a vegan alternative.

TurtleTree launches first cell based human lactoferrin

Until now, lactoferrin has been derived from cow’s milk and is used in infant milk formulas for its immunity-boosting properties, as well as in performance nutrition and medical applications. TurtleTree is now gearing up to bring to market its cultured human lactoferrin, the company announced on Friday (June 4). The milk ingredient is known for its immune-boosting qualities, and has been linked to fighting bad bacteria in the gut and viral infections, including linkages against blocking Covid-19.

Vitamin infused foods

Sourse is one such brand that’s making health products fun. They sell vitamin-infused chocolates, which makes us wonder why we were ever choking down capsules in the first place. They sell two different vitamin candies, one containing B12 and another containing plant-based collagen. The coated dark chocolate truffles are vegan, which is ideal since B12 supplements are commonly recommended to people on plant-based diets. And the plant-based collagen offers nourishment to your skin without the inherent cruelty of using animal products.

Wider AgTech space….farming is digitized and food revolutionised

Soft Robotics raises $10m in series B round for picking machines

Founded in 2013, the company takes a novel approach to picking machines, with a soft, pneumatic-powered gripper that’s ideal for fragile food stuffs that might otherwise be damaged by rigid robotics. Food, of course, has been a prime target for interest in automation during the pandemic, due to labor shortages and fears of disease transmission.

Market Growth? …the helicopter view

Report looks into cheese based alternatives

Precision-fermentation company Formo and the University of Bath co-published the study, having surveyed 5,054 individuals from Brazil, Germany, India, the UK, and the USA. The study reveals strong consumer enthusiasm for animal-free cheese across various countries, age groups, as well as dietary preferences. Crucially, these products have mass-market potential far beyond the vegan category, with the recent study showing flexitarians to have the highest levels of enthusiasm.

ResearchAndMarkets.coms latest report suggests huge growth

The cultured meat market size was valued at $1.64 million in 2021, and is estimated to reach $2,788.1 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 95.8% from 2022 to 2030.

Watching the VCs

Singapore VC raises $25m for new fund

Venture capital firm Good Startup raised US$25 million in the first close of its Good Protein Fund I, a cross-border venture capital fund that focuses on investing in alternative protein startups and comprises of individual investors and family offices with a focus on Southeast Asia. Singapore-based Good Startup is looking to eliminate the use of animals in the food system and support alternative protein companies in building a sustainable food ecosystem instead that has minimal impact on the environment.

Worth noting…..details that matter

Israeli Food tech Future opened first industrial cultured meat facility

The factory has the capacity to make 5,000 cell-based burgers per day, a major step from pilot to scalable production. Now, it’s set its sights on bringing its cultured meat to U.S. shelves as soon as next year. Future Meat Technologies has opened its new facility, bearing a capacity of 500 kilograms of cultured meat per day—equating to 5,000 burgers. It can produce real chicken, pork and lamb without any animals or GMOs. Soon, the factory will be able to produce beef too.

and also Bloomberg with excellent video

Mew Danish research project focusing on fermentation technology

Proferment is set to begin in January 2022 and will represent a “major food science initiative” to invent a “completely new category” of climate-friendly, sustainable and delicious plant-based alternatives to animal protein sources. Over the six-year project led by Professor Dennis Sandris Nielsen of the department of food science at the University of Copenhagen, researchers from all three universities will build the fundamental microbiological knowledge necessary to create this new category of plant-based foods.

Singapore launches worlds first alt proteins course

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), one of the top universities in Asia, has approved a new course called “Future Foods – Introduction to Advanced Meat Alternatives”. NTU claims the new course is the first one in the Asia Pacific region to focus on alt-protein. It will be open to students on the Food Science & Technology program, and will potentially be made more widely available if there is enough interest. Students will learn about the science of producing alt-protein products via plant-based, cell-cultured, and fermentation methods. The course has been developed in collaboration with GFI’s global network of scientists.

Further reading….articles which drill down into the space

Very detailed McKinsey report on cultured meat sector

If consumers take to these products, the market for cultivated meat could reach $25 billion by 2030

Great Bloomberg report on how alt meat sparks run on peas

Yellow pea is the fastest-growing source of protein for plant-based meat alternatives, a market that’s expected to be worth $140 billion globally by 2029, up from $14 billion in 2019, according to data from food technology company Benson Hill and Barclays Plc. Eco-conscious consumers are drawn to imitation meats because, pound for pound, their environmental footprint, measured in water or greenhouse gas emissions, is a fraction of beef’s.

Excellent Guardian article looking into Eat Just

Interviews with former Eat Just employees and industry paint a picture of a founder adept at generating publicity and securing investors, even if it means sometimes bending the truth. Meanwhile, scientific experts and analysts have raised concerns that Eat Just’s breakthroughs may be more hype than reality, and that its products – and those of the cultured meat industry at large – are still far from viable on a mass scale.

Very readable outline of sector and non plant based alternatives such as krill

There’s also a new approach to sourcing animal protein that involves krill, the small, shrimp-like planktonic crustacean found in the open seas and consumed by a number of larger animals, including whales. A new ingredient from Aker BioMarine, Oslo, Norway, was formulated for use in a range of applications to promote healthier eating while also being a sustainable protein source.


Great podcast interview with Jim Mellon via Plant based Business Hour

Watching China

VCs back scale up programme for Greater China

Asia venture accelerator firm Brinc and European FoodTech venture fund, Blue Horizon Ventures will invest over US$3 million into global foodtech startups through Brinc’s new scaleup program, which aims to help growth-stage companies enter markets throughout Southeast Asia and Greater China, an investment remit that the two parties describe as the “largest cheque size for foodtech accelerator programs” to date.

Chinese consumers growing interest in plant based proteins

According to the China Plant-based Protein Topical Report from The NPD Group, plant-based foods are becoming more available and appealing as Chinese consumers are generally seeking more protein in their diets.  The key findings from the report are:

  • Consumer awareness of plant-based has reached 90%
  • The retention rate for plant-based proteins is on the rise, up from 53% in October 2020, to 68% in January 2021.
  • 57% of Chinese consumers get plant-based protein information from domestic news sources, and 48% learned about plant-based protein from social media
  • With over 70%, independent restaurants represent the highest share of plant-based protein growth in China. Plant-based proteins served in FSR reached 52%, followed by 31% in QSR, and 12% in Leisure.
  • The trial rate of restaurant dishes and plant-based snacks was the highest at 60%.
  • 41% of consumers agreed that ads focusing on health and wellness was a driving factor in their acceptance of plant-based protein.

Livekindly expands in China

Launches two new flagship brands, Giggling Pig 咯咭藸 [Ge Ji Zhu] and Happy Chicken 哈皮鸡 [Ha Pi Ji]. The two new brands cover a portfolio of seven innovative plant-based products based on beloved Chinese dishes, including plant-based dumplings, several mushroom-based dishes and a seasoned minced dish. These new products will be available across China on June 25. Both brands are targeted at Gen Z

Dealflow…..funding news from the last month

Israeli Aleph Farms in $105m Series B

Cellular agriculture startup Aleph Farms has announced a US$105 million Series B funding round today led by L Catterton’s Growth Fund. The Israeli cultivated meat makers will use the capital to scale up its manufacturing capabilities. In addition, the company says it will expand its operations internationally ahead of its initial market launch in 2022.

UK 1 : Magellan raises seed funding for plant based protein sweetener

British biotech Magellan has bagged seed investment led by the French ingredients major’s Roquette Ventures, joined by U.S. tech startup venture capital SOSV and three European business angel investors. The amount raised was undisclosed, but Magellan says the funds will help accelerate the market entry of its new protein sweeteners. Magellan’s new protein sweeteners are produced using its proprietary expression and fermentation platform XSeed, and is nearly indistinguishable in terms of taste to sucrose but with a far higher sweetening power and no undesirable metallic aftertaste.

UK 2: Vegan recipe brand Grubby raises just under £1m via crowd

Contributors included angel investors such as the founders of Skyscanner and World First. Grubby claims to be the first entirely plant-based recipe kit in the UK. Since its launch, it has delivered over 50,000 plant-based meals and has grown over 130 percent quarter on quarter.

UK 3: Enough raises $51m in Series B with Nutreco big backer

UK alt-protein startup Enough has raised €42 million ($51 million) in a Series B round co-led by Dutch food and animal feed major Nutreco and Olympic Investments, an arm of the Onassis Foundation set up by 20th century Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Enough’s core offering is Abunda, a mycoprotein product for human consumption that is fermented from fungi using renewable ag feedstocks, including from grains.


UK 4: UK plant meat producer THIS closes £11m Series A

THIS™ was listed by Kantar in the top 10 most valuable FMCG product launches of 2020. In under two years since launching, THIS™ has been stocked in over 8,900 retail distribution points including all four of the UK’s major grocers. The products also feature in over 300 restaurants throughout the country (including Prezzo, Pho, and Honest Burgers).

US 1 : alternative fast food restaurant raises $7.5m in Series A

Plant Power Fast Food has secured a US$7.5 millionSeries A, which the company claims is the largest funding round for a plant-based fast food chain globally, and which will enable the chain of 100% vegan fast food restaurants expand across the U.S. by opening eight new outlets.

US 2 : Hooray Foods raises $2m in second round for plant based bacon

Hooray Foods’ only product at the moment is plant-based bacon, which is made from a combination of coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, umami seasoning, maple syrup, salt, and beet juice concentrate. The fat content of the bacon is 20 percent due to Hooray Foods’ encapsulation process, which can help provide a juicer texture to alternative meat products by emulating the richness and fatty texture of real bacon and other meats.

US 3 : Maker of Nuggs plant based chicken using peas raises $50m in series B

The company’s first product, NUGGS, is a pea protein-based “chicken” nugget the company launched through mail order two years ago. In March of 2020, SIMULATE launched its nuggets at retail, and in July of last year it introduced its second product, the DOGGS faux hot dogs. SIMULATE has since expanded its lineup with SPICY NUGGS and DISCS (fake chicken patties). According to the press announcement sent to The Spoon, NUGGS are now available at more than 5,000 retail locations. The company will add another 10,000 retail locations by the end of this year.


US 4: Ingredient startup Motif Foodworks raises $226m in Series B

Boston-based Motif FoodWorks funding round was jointly led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP), and funds and accounts were managed by BlackRock. Founded in 2018, the food biotech startup focuses on brewing proteins, nutrients and ingredient solutions for plant-based foods. Solutions include meat alternatives with ground/mince applications, snacks, dairy alternatives including milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream as well as plant-based innovation to enhance taste and nutrition in existing foods as well as develop new ones.

US 5: Colorado based Meati raises $60m with mushroom roots

Meati uses the roots of mushrooms to produce whole cuts, like steak ready to slice on top of a salad or chicken breast breaded and fried as a sandwich. Much of the funds from its recent Series B will go toward completing construction on an 80,000-square-foot production plant, which will soon pump out millions of pounds of Meati in time for a commercial launch in 2022.

US 6: Danone buys into coconut alternatives firm Harmless Harvest

Danone's venture capital arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, acquired a majority stake in Harmless Harvest, a producer of organic coconut-based products. The amount paid and the stake Danone now owns were not disclosed. Danone Manifesto Ventures led a $30 million capital growth round in Harmless Harvest in 2017 and invested in the company in 2009 when it was founded.

Latin America 1 : Bezos backed NotCo raises funds to scale up foodservice products

Backed by big names like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and leading investors Future Positive and L Catterton, the Chilean food tech NotCo is Latin America’s leading food tech company and has now attracted U.S. restauranteur Danny Meyer as a backer. Meyer is the well-known founder of Shake Shack and the Union Square Hospitality Group that is associated with the growth equity fund EIH that invests in hospitality, technology and consumer industries, marking the fund’s first investment in a food tech company that employs AI to create plant-based products that claim to be similar to its animal-based counterparts.


Europe 1 : French Funky Veggie raises 2 million euros – uses social networks

instead of calling on investors, the company preferred to call on its community through the method of participatory financing, a method increasingly used, especially by young startups. The company said on its social networks: “We are very proud to have raised a brand new kind of 2.0 fundraising, in total agreement with our values: thanks to our customers and our community of more than 100,000 people, nearly 600 “citizen investors” have joined our adventure.”

Europe 2 : Spanish alt protein business raises 4 million euros in crowd campaign

Spanish plant-based meat maker Heura has attracted an impressive €4 million (approx. US$4.8 million) within just 24 hours of launching its campaign on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The Barcelona-based startup will be using the funds to fuel its R&D and launch new plant-based meat products on the market, after managing to triple its turnover in 2020 due to skyrocketing demand.

Europe 3: Liveknidly buys Dutch Weed Burger

LIVEKINDLY Collective, a collection of alternative protein brands, announced this week that it is acquiring Amsterdam-based company The Dutch Weed Burger. The Dutch Weed Burger makes a range of meat analogs using seaweed as the hero ingredient. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Europe 4: Mycoprotein closes Pre series A raising $9m

Scandinavian mycoprotein company Mycorena closed its Pre-Series A financing round taking its total external funding to over SEK 100 million (approx. US$11M). The round was led by Belgium-based VEOS Group, a global supplier of proteins and functional ingredients. Other participating investors included existing ones like FBG Invest and Bånt AB, two of the largest shareholders of Mycorena.

Middle East 1 : Saudi firm raises $10m to grow crops in salt water

According to a press announcement, the round was led by a group of Saudi and UAE investors including the Aramco entrepreneurship arm Wa’ed, the non-profit foundation Future Investment Initiative Institute, KAUST and Global Ventures, a UAE venture capital group. Red Sea Farms is based out of King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia