According to new figures from the Good Food Institute, the global plant-based food industry accounted for $8 billion in sales and will receive $1.2 billion in investment by 2022.
Those with recent funding include No Meat Factory, Planetarians, ISH Company and Chunk Foods, which is developing a plant-based alternative protein that mimics the texture and taste of traditional meats, initially steak and eventually pork, lamb and poultry.
Amos Golan, founder and CEO of Chunk Foods, told EntertainmentCab that while the plant-based market is about $8 billion, the traditional meat market is about $1.4 trillion, meaning “we’re not even scratching the surface of the addressable market there yet.” .” He founded the company in 2020 while at MIT.
Israel-based Chunk Foods raised $15 million in seed funding in November, which Golan says is “the largest ever seed round for an Israeli plant-based company.” Fall Line Capital led the new investment and was joined by the MIT E14 fund and the FootPrint Coalition. Chunk Foods previously raised $2 million in pre-seed funding.
The company develops whole portions of alternative proteins using fermentation technology and food-grade microorganisms to convert soy and wheat into its proteins. And yes, Chunk Foods has a number of products in the pipeline without those two ingredients for consumers with allergies. The steak product contains no preservatives, additives, cholesterol or GMOs and contains 25 grams of protein.
Golan said what sets his company apart from other plant-based companies is that Chunk Foods’ proprietary fermentation technology has been able to mimic the texture, color and flavor of traditional meats, along with fiber direction and thickness and juiciness. of the cut. It also does this with a shorter and cleaner ingredient list, free of gums and stabilizers often used to thicken and hold food’s shape.
The technology has also helped the company reduce costs to about $5 per steak, which Golan says is nearly the same price as traditional tenderloin. The “economies of scale are not quite there yet”, because they also have to import to the United States.
Like other companies in this industry, Chunk Foods is in its early stages. It began its pilot phase in the fourth quarter of 2022 and is still pre-revenue, though the steak product is already being served at New York City restaurants, including Coletta, Anixi, and The Butcher’s Daughter.
Chunk Foods is putting the new money toward a new facility in Israel, which Golan says will become “one of the largest whole-cut meat plants in the world.” It is expected to be completed in June and once completed it will be able to produce “millions of steaks” a year, Golan added.
As mentioned, the company is not yet selling its products, but has closed enough presales to initially keep the new facility busy for a few months, Golan said. Funds will also be used to expand the current workforce of 25, with the R&D in Israel and the commercial team in the US. Another even larger facility is also in the works as Chunk Foods targets retail.
Meanwhile, the plant-based meat alternatives industry has been on a rollercoaster ride over the past year between layoffs at Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, both first-generation companies in the industry, production problems felt by Oatly, and other setbacks.
Responding to speculation that the end of the plant-based alternative protein was near, Golan noted that what was happening was that dozens, if not hundreds, of companies quickly came out with products in this area to try to capture a share of the market. conquer, often with products that were ‘not good enough’.
Even with the layoffs earlier this year, Golan pointed to Impossible as a company that could grow quickly while the vegetable market moved slowly. In 2023, Impossible launched four new products, including three plant-based “chicken” products and a lean version of its “beef” product.
“Some companies won’t be around for long,” Golan said. “They either merge with other companies or they disappear. The third generation of plant-based companies offers a better product and leads the way. Chunk is currently with them. Our products are more reasonably priced for what’s on offer and we communicate better with our consumers.”
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