Best of the web-July

By David Stevenson on Thursday 5 August 2021

Best of the web-July
Image source: Weight loss image/Pexels

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


UK's National Food Strategy emphasises alt proteins

New (£500m)  challenge fund  “ should be used to help shift the national diet …. This might include accelerating work to reformulate processed foods, trying out new ways of helping customers change their habits, and boost locally led initiatives to improve diet and health. But it should also be used to help develop new ways of growing food, such as vertical farming and precision fermentation.

BeyondMeat’s founder Ethan brown talks to the BBC about meat tax

“I think the whole notion of a pigovian tax, which is to tax negative things that are high in externalities, I think is an interesting one. I’m not an economist but overall intuitively that type of thing does appeal to me, not just for meat. I think taxing things we want more of such as income and not taxing things we want less of, I’ve always wondered about that so in general that type of taxation scheme is interesting to me but I’ve got to leave it to others to work out the details.”

Also BeyondMeat aims to undercut beef by 2024

While Brown admits that the company is not yet able to underprice animal protein, he is confident Beyond Meat’s “efficient” business model will allow it to compete in the future. “I set two years ago a goal of being able to underprice animal protein, in at least one category, within five years,” Brown said. “I think that’ll happen to beef.”

and in the WSJ

Impossible boss slams cultured meat, again – “complete vaporware”

Impossible Foods founder and CEO Patrick Brown has taken another swipe at cell-based meat, this time calling it “complete vaporware”. The comment was made in a recent Washington Post interview, where he argues only plants could viably compete and displace animal agriculture.  Brown, the man behind the famous bleeding plant-based Impossible patty, has called cell-based meat “complete vaporware” in a new interview with Post reporter Laura Reilly. It’s not the first time he’s dismissed the industry, previously saying that cell-based meat is “never going to be a thing”.

Amazon Records 44,000 Searches for Alt-Meat in One Month as Sales Surge by 27%

The most common search terms in the category were “vegan meat”, “vegan chicken”, “vegan burgers” and “vegan fish”, showing that there is demand for a range of plant-based meat products. The increasing number of searches is in line with data from the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute, which found that retail sales of plant-based foods jumped 27% last year.

Chicken Wars 1 : the battle for alternatives heats up

Clean plant-based chicken brand Daring has launched two of its products — Original Pieces and Original Breaded Pieces — at select Whole Foods stores across the US. The news comes after Daring raised $40 million in funding this May, with investors including the rapper Drake. At the time of the raise, it had only been 18 months since the brand launched its first products and a year since it entered the US.

Chicken Wars 2: Beyond Meat goes head to head with Impossible

two leading plant-based meat companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, both said this month that they are launching new chicken products. Beyond Chicken Tenders were launched at about 400 restaurants nationwide on July 8. And the next week, Impossible Foods told Bloomberg it would be debuting chicken nuggets this fall.


and Bloomberg

and Forbes

Vegan Bacon battle looming

plant-based bacon is carving out space in the frying pan. Sales are up 25%—almost double that of meat-based bacon for the 52-week period ending April 18, according to data from Spins, which reports retailer data for natural and organic products. Nielsen, which aggregates data from conventional grocers, reported that the entire category of bacon alternatives almost doubled in 2020, to $267 million, compared to 2019.

and WSJ on BeyondMeats Bacon

Quorn developing new protein sources

the company is looking at other protein sources and solutions to develop new products with meatier tastes and textures. It aims to target flexitarians looking to limit their meat consumption. It’s a big market— 42% of consumers worldwide say they’re are flexitarians, driving vegan protein sales.

Nestle confirms its investing in cultured meat

In response to rumours circulating that Nestlé is to enter the cell cultivated meat category, as reported yesterday by Bloomberg et al; vegconomist today contacted the Nestlé head office in Switzerland and it has been confirmed that Nestlé Research in Lausanne is currently working with Future Meat Technologies in Israel, as well as several other startups as yet undisclosed.

IPOs and market talk… meets the investing community

Plant based zero sugar Zevia announces IPO

Zevia announces pricing of its initial public offering of 10,700,000 shares of its Class A common stock at a public offering price of $14.00 per share. The shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on July 22, 2021 under the ticker symbol “ZVIA.”

Stryve Foods goes for SPAC

Jaxie Alt, the co-CEO and chief marketing officer of Stryve Foods, is decidedly upbeat when she says her company's air-dried meat products have the potential to disrupt the staid meat snack category, and Wall Street seems to agree. The challenge remains convincing U.S. consumers. "We have an amazing product, but no one has heard of it," said Alt, who previously spent more than 17 years at the former Dr Pepper Snapple Group, where she served as co-chief marketing officer. "We got to market and drive awareness and get people to try it."

Why short seller thinks Oatly is overvalued

Both Beyond Meat and Oatly are overvalued, says Ben Axler, founder and chief investment officer of Spruce Point, but Oatly, with 2020 sales of $420 million and a market capitalization of $11.6 billion, is the one now operating at the extreme. Beyond had 2020 revenue of $406 million and a market capitalization of $8.2 billion. “We think Oatly is worse than Beyond Meat,” Axler says, zeroing in on a gross margin that is far weaker than reported and the high cost of winning market share.


Listed Israeli firm Biomilk snags $2m from Coca Cola

Founded in 2018 by Dr. Nurit Argov-Argaman and Maggie Levy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, BioMilk was set up to end the suffering of dairy cows and save the energy consumed by dairy farming. It became the first cell-cultured milk company to go public this year on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and following the investment news, Biomilk’s share price on the TASE is up 7.75%, at NIS 5.35, with a market cap of NIS 223 million.

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

Swedish outfit launches first potato based plant milk

ccording to the startup, it doesn’t just foam like real dairy—it’s far more sustainable, even compared to competitor plant-based milks on the market.  Dug was created by Veg of Lund, a food innovator rooted in Professor Eva Tornberg’s research at Lund University. Instead of using soy, oats, or almonds, Dug uses potatoes. That’s right, the brand ditches all conventional plant milk ingredients for the mighty spud.

In UK firm says it can turn potatoes into protein

A new U.K. factory is set to transform potatoes into protein, which can then be used to make plant-based meats. Built by British food and produce supplier Branston, the factory claims to be the first of its kind in the country. Branston says the move comes in response to surging demand for vegan and vegetarian food.

Singapore based Researchers use okra to make cheaper cell based meat

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are finding new uses for okara — the pulp leftover from making soy-based foods like soy milk and tofu. It contains high amounts of protein and fibre.  The researchers fermented okara with microorganisms, heat, and water for about a week. They then extracted a yellow liquid from it, which contains plant growth hormones. These hormones could help animal cells to multiply into real animal tissue, enabling them to cultivate meat.

Biodesign firm launches animal free collagen

Specialty protein company Geltor has designed PrimaColl, its animal-free collagen for use in the vegan food industry, as well for use in kosher and halal diets. Geltor is currently in discussions with category-leading food and beverage companies, with potential for first-to-market rights in select product categories. Geltor has also previously developed a plant-based elastin product named Elastapure for the vegan beauty industry.

The last Mile…getting new products into the kitchen

Vegan home delivery service launches in Glasgow

A new 100% vegan food delivery service is trialling in Glasgow, Scotland. Vegan Wheels, a plant-based cooperative venture, will provide home deliveries for vegan cafés and restaurants in the city whilst donating profits to animal charities.

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

Synthetic Biology is about to disrupt food and fashion industry

In a new report, analysts from Hong Kong-based incubator The Mills Fabrica argue that synbio is already showing its strong potential in alternative proteins and biomaterials. A recently published report by The Mills Fabrica estimates that the synbio sector will grow 24% per year to 2025. According to the analysis, the sector offers “promising solutions” to major industry challenges in food and fashion. Already, synbio solutions are disrupting both industries, most prominently in alt-protein and in bio-based dyes and materials.

access to the report here

Cambridge spin out pioneers entire manufacturing system for alternative proteins

Animal Alternative Technologies’ Renaissance Farm platform “What we offer is an end-to-end cultured meat manufacturing system, which includes bio-reactors, to democratise access to sustainable food production.”

Market Growth? …the helicopter view

Report says plant based meat market had revenues of over $1bn in 2020

According to P&S Intelligence – which collected data by analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on vegan meat substitutes including soy, wheat, pea proteins, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and Quorn - combined, the industry bagged revenue of $1.769 billion last year alone, the report states.

Report says Alt protein market to hit $4.8 billion by 2027

The Protein Alternatives market in the US was estimated at US$1.1 billion last year, currently accounting for a 40.46% share in the global market. China, the world second-largest economy, is forecast to reach an estimated market size of US$351.4 million in the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 9.5% through 2027. Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 7.1% and 7.4% respectively over the 2020-2027 period.

Watching the VCs

Events based funding platform helps raise over $130m in funding

Vevolution, the technology platform for plant-based and cell-cultured businesses, has released new data from its fundraising platform. The figures show that it has now helped companies request over $130 million in funding. In total, 126 funding rounds have taken place on the platform, meaning that on average companies are requesting about $1 million per round. Startups such as Evo Foods, Mighty Plants, and No Evil Foods have all successfully raised funding using the platform, with investors including New Crop Capital, Veg Capital, and Blue Horizon.


Worth noting…..details that matter

BigAg muscles in : ADM buys non GMO soy ingredient business Sojaprotein

The acquisition of Sojaprotein – the largest producer of plant-based protein in southern Europe – will enhance ADM’s production capacity to meet the fast-growing global demand for plant-based proteins.

Report says US might be next to OK cultured meat

“I think that the United States could very well be one of the next countries to grant approval, especially for seafood,” said researcher Harini Venkataraman, the author of the new report. “Because it falls solely under the FDA, and because we’ve seen some developments from companies like BlueNalu in terms of getting cell-based seafood to the market, I imagine seafood regulation may be faster than beef and some of the other types of products we’re looking at.”

Another report says sector faces huge challenges though in the US

Issues including costs, regulation, and scalability challenges were identified based on survey responses from more than 300 industry leaders. “Better, and smarter, tools and processes are clearly needed to address this growing industry challenge”

Further reading….articles which drill down into the space

Ones to Watch 1: Biotech accelerators top food investments according to GreenQueen

IndieBio recently welcomed a bunch of new companies for its 11th cohort, and six of them in particular have caught our eye. These startups’ solutions range across industries, from transport to food and even sustainable beauty.

Ones to Watch 2 : XPRIZE Feed the next billion semi finalists announced

The semifinalists included Another Fish, Canada; Atlast Food Co, United States; Boston Meats, United States; Brew51, India; CELL AG TECH, Canada; CellX, China; IntegriCulture, Japan; Kernel Mycofoods, Argentina; MeatOurFuture, South Africa; Meati Foods, United States; MyoWorks, India; Novel Farms, United States, ProFillet, Canada; SeaSpire, New Zealand; The PlantEat, South Korea; TFTAK, Estonia; Better Meat Co, United States; Umami Meats, Singapore; Whiteboard Foods, Canada and Wildtype, United States

Ones to Watch 3: Thought for Food shines light on 10 start ups

These companies have been handpicked by Swiss innovation engine Thought For Food (TFF) as part of its 2021 challenge. More than 5,000 participants entered the contest, hailing from 120 countries. As finalists, the 10 startups will embark on a three-month Academy accelerator program to scale up their ideas.

Ones to watch 4: Seven Spanish startups worth watching

The alternative protein industry is booming, and Spain is no exception to the trend. The country is home to a growing number of startups who are innovating in a meat-heavy food system. From plant-based chorizo to fermenting mycelium meats, meet these Spanish food techs that are going to change the way we eat.

Diamonds, trees, and even humane bone can be made in a laboratory – the future of lab grown materials

most ‘lab-grown’ tech companies are working to produce animal-derived agricultural products (‘meat’, ‘leather’, ‘milk’, ‘eggs’ etc.). But, there’s a whole world of innovation in other areas

Excellent Guardian feature on cultured meat’s troubles

Sustainable alternatives to livestock farming are being held back by patents, a reluctance to share research and lack of government support

Excellent CNBC dive into alternative fish products

The market for plant-based fish, on the other hand, has been slower to develop. While U.S. sales grew 23% in 2020, it only accounted for $12 million, according to GFI and PBFA. That represents 0.1% of the entire U.S. seafood market, compared to sales of plant-based meat making up 1.4% of U.S. meat sales.

BBC farming presenter slams plant mils

Henson, who presents BBC One’s Countryfile, penned a piece in Radio Times. The weekly program covers British agricultural topics.  In the article, The Telegraph reports, he said: “If you’re drinking soya milk, that might have come from South America and caused deforestation, the destruction of species, the displacement of indigenous people.” Moreover, both avocados and almond milk are ‘disastrous for the environment’, he asserts. As a result, people concerned about the environment should choose cow’s milk instead, he added.

Forbes deep dive into fermentation

Fermentation is a relatively low-risk process, since the method has been around for so long. This means companies operating in the emerging space of growing animal proteins using fermentation already have their sights set on scaling up and forcing real change across the food industry. Many of them are working with other businesses, to offer the same products, made differently.

China watching

CNBC roundup of Chinese alt protein sector

The plant-based protein market in China is attracting more attention. Just this month, Beyond Meat announced it was launching an online store for the Chinese market, in partnership with the e-commerce platform, and plans to expand beyond its current retail partners in China, including Starbucks and Yum China Holdings, to around 300 Chinese cities at a time when local consumers are more frequently buying fresh food online.

Report looks at Asian consumer concerns around alt proteins

Examining trends in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, the research outlines the main factors that will tip the protein scales in favour of vegan sources over traditional animal proteins.  The new report, compiled by Singapore nonprofit Food Industry Asia (FIA) and consultancy firm AlphaBeta, focuses on the changing protein landscape in the “Asia-5” countries. These five countries—China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines—represent the key markets at the forefront of driving the world’s rising protein demands. Globally, protein consumption is set to grow by 45% and Asia is set to account for 63% of the demand.

BeyondMeat reinforces Chinese position by launching on

Beyond Meat has made its first e-commerce entry in the Chinese market, launching on, one of China’s two biggest online retailers and arch-rival of Alibaba’s Tmall. From Thursday (July 15), Beyond will begin selling its vegan meat to consumers in select cities, among them Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

Dealflow…..funding news from the last month

US 1 : Nobell Foods bags $75m in Series B involving Gates Breakthrough Energy Ventures for veg cheese

Alt-dairy startup Nobell Foods has just bagged $75 million in a new Series B round, led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The startup, until now operating under stealth mode, programs soybeans to produce casein, the ingredient that makes cheese stretchy. Fuelled with new funding, Nobell plans to launch its vegan mozzarella and cheddar cheese by end of 2022.



US (and LatAm) 2: NotCo hits unicorn valuation

NotCo, a food technology company making plant-based milk and meat replacements, wrapped up another funding round this year, a $235 million Series D round that gives it a $1.5 billion valuation. Tiger Global led the round and was joined by new investors, including DFJ Growth Fund, the social impact foundation, ZOMA Lab; athletes Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer; and musician and DJ Questlove.

US 3 : Natures Fynd raises $350m in Series C

Fermented protein company Nature's Fynd raised $350 million in a Series C round, more than tripling the funding it's raised to date, according to Crunchbase. The round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. It also includes several new investors: Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Investment, EDBI, SK Inc. and Hongkou. Existing investors — including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Generation Investment Management, 1955 Capital, Danone Manifesto Ventures and Archer Daniels Midland — also participated.

US 4: Wicked Kitchen raises $14m in series A

The famous American chef and brother team, Derek and Chad Sarno, founded the plant-based food brand in January 2018 and are now bringing the Wicked Kitchen product line home to the US, where one in every two people consume more plant-based meals than meat. The investment round was co-led by pioneering plant-based foods venture fund Unovis Asset Management and Thailand-based NRF Nove Foods.

US 5 : Meati raises $50m for fungi based steaks

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.

Europe 1: Bioscience start up Protera raises $10m in Series A to create nextgen functional proteins

Protera uses a proprietary AI algorithm called madi™ to rapidly create next-generation functional proteins. The algorithm works by screening various combinations of amino acids and predicting their properties. The new funding will allow Protera to scale up its manufacturing process and validate its products with various multinational companies. The company will particularly be focusing on scaling up protera guard™, a natural protein that can replace artificial preservatives.

Europe 2: Swiss PlantedFoods raises $12m in Series B

Planted says it will use the capital to expand internationally and strengthen its R&D platform. Its products are already available in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and France, and it has plans to expand to several more countries. Just a few months ago, Planted raised 17 million Swiss francs in a previous funding round, with investors including footballer Yann Sommer. In an interview with vegconomist, the company said its success was down to the unique fibre structures used in its products, as well as its clean-label philosophy — Planted’s chicken contains only four ingredients.

Europe 3: Russian Welldone raises $1.5m and says its outselling BeyondMeat with $3 burgers

After expanding to over 500 points of sale in 50 cities, Russian alt-meat brand Welldone has seen sales surge to surpass those of Beyond Meat. The rise has been partially attributed to Welldone’s affordable pricing, at just $3 for a pack of two burgers. Following its recent success, the company has closed a $1.5 million funding round, led by Phystech Ventures with participation from Lever VC. The funding will allow Welldone to increase its production capacity to 150 tons per month in order to keep up with demand. It will also be used for R&D and new product launches.

Europe 4 : Paris based Gourmey raises an extra $10m for its alt foie gras

Gourmey engineers faux meat by taking cells out of a freshly laid duck egg and placing them into a cultivator. The cells are then fed with proteins, amino acids and sugar, similar to the nutrients a duck would get from a diet of oats, corn and grass. The cells are then harvested and transformed into foie gras in a process that uses significantly less land and water than traditional methods.

Plus funding will help push into chicken products

Europe 5 : Dutch biotech firm raises 2.6m euros for cell cultured leather

Founded in 2014, Qorium recently succeeded in developing proof of concept of its product. The cell cultured leather takes 99% less water and 66% less energy to produce than conventional leather. It also eliminates the need for the first two phases of the tanning process, which are notoriously polluting. And since only a few bovine skin cells are required to produce the leather, the methane emissions produced by livestock could be vastly reduced.

UK 1 : Multus Biotech raises £1.6m for animal free growth media

Multus is working on animal-free replacements for the growth media used to produce cell-cultured meat. The animal serum-based growth media currently used by many companies is expensive and has ethical issues, and these factors have held back the industry.  With the help of the new funding, Multus will be able to bring its first product to market. The product will be known as Proliferum M™, and according to Multus it will “allow companies to grow cost–competitive cultivated meat products as a viable alternative to industrial farming.”

UK 2 : British plant based fast food restaurant raises £2m from crowd

British startup Ready Burger has raised £2 million through a Crowdcube crowdfunding campaign. It exceeded its initial £1.5 million target in just hours of launching and attracted more than 840 investors for 22.47% in equity. With this capital, Ready Burger says it’ll now expand to compete with fast-food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King.

Israel 1: Aleph Farm raises $105m in 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. Israel-based Aleph farms focus on developing meat steaks directly from non-genetically modified animal cells. They claim the designation of being the first company globally to grow steaks from the cells of cows: in 2018, they made headlines when they debuted the world’s first cell-cultured thin-cut steak. Earlier this year, using 3D bioprinting and cellular agriculture technologies, the company unveiled the world’s first cultivated ribeye steak.

Australia 1: Harvest B secures $3.5m in seed funding

Founded just last year, the B2B startup Harvest B creates animal-free ingredients, supplies them to plant-based meat brands, and is dedicated to building a local supply chain of these ingredients. Its business model aims to help Australian farmers sell their crops for the plant protein supply chain, which is crucial in the alternative protein industry. Sustainably produced crops like wheat will be used to develop “high-performing ingredients” that match the nutritional properties found in traditional meat. It will then deliver the ingredients across food companies to use in the development of its alt protein products.


Singapore based Shiok Meats raises fresh funding

Shiok Meats has attracted an undisclosed amount of funding from Asian food majors in a new bridge round announced on Wednesday (July 21). It was led by Vietnam’s top seafood exporter Vinh Hoan, and two South Korean majors Woowa Brothers and CJ CheilJedang. Woowa is the operator of South Korea’s largest food delivery app, Baedal Minjok, and CJ CheilJedang, the F&B arm of CJ Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in the country.

NextGen raises more capital for plant based chicken brand TiNDLE in the US

Following its $10 million seed round this February which the company claimed at the time was the largest ever seed round in the plant-based sector, Singapore based startup Next Gen today announces an extension of $20 million to make a total of $30 million, which will be invested to launch TiNDLE, its new plant-based chicken brand, into the US.