Exotic snake skin

© dankee - stock.adobe.com

Investments & Finance

ProjectEx Opens $1M Pre-Seed Round to Revolutionize Luxury Market With Cultivated Exotic Leather

ProjectEx, a Singapore-based cultivated leather startup, has announced a $1 million pre-seed fundraising round to revolutionize the luxury market with sustainable and cruelty-free exotic cultivated leather.  ProjectEx was launched by two industry experts, biomedical engineer Dr. Viknish Krishnan-Kutty, CEO of Cellivate Technologies, and Adrian Fürstenburg, an award-winning South African Designer.  Founded in 2019 as a spin-off from the National University of Singapore, Cellivate Technologies is a deep-tech startup with a proprietary platform technology developing FBS-free media for cultivated meat companies. ProjectEx will combine its biotechnology and synthetic biology expertise to grow its alternative skin.  An urgent need “As a designer who works with leather, I know firsthand the impact that the industry has on the environment and animal welfare,” said Adrian Fürstenburg. “Sustainability is not …



© Leukeather

Leather Alternatives

Leukeather: Animal-Free Exotic Leather Made From Upcycled River Tamarind Pods

Leukeather is a vegan alternative to exotic leather, developed by UAE-based Egyptian architect Nuhayr Zein. The material is made from the dried pods of Leucaena, also known as river tamarind. Leucaena is a tree native to northern Central America and southern Mexico. It is fast-growing, requires little water, and is already present on many farms. To make the leather, farmers gather dried pods and supply them to Leukeather. The company then uses biotechnology to improve the suppleness and flexibility of the pods, creating a material that is naturally waterproof and plastic-free. Leukeather is said to be the only vegan leather that does not require embossing to obtain a leather-like texture, as the Leucaena pods give it a natural pattern. Exotic vegan leather A huge variety …


shoe made from tomato leather

© Bioleather

Leather Alternatives

India’s Bioleather Develops Biodegradable Alt Leather Made From Tomato Plant Waste

Bioleather is an Indian alt leather producer that has developed tomato composite, a fully biodegradable material made by extracting cellulose fibers from tomato plant waste. Described as an “exotic material with unique texture, color, and characteristics”, the leather alternative is made from two separate layers. This eliminates the need for a layer of polyurethane, which is used in most plant-based alt leathers to improve durability. The natural characteristics of the tomato composite are said to protect it from deformation, and it is also described as lightweight, easy to clean, and resistant to water and abrasions. In 2021, the material won Best Innovation in Textile at the PETA Vegan Fashion Awards. Bioleather now offers a selection of shoes and bags made from the tomato leather, and …


Really Clever biomaterials

© Really Clever


$475M Invested in Next-Gen Materials in 2022, Leather Alternatives Dominating Sector

The Material Innovation Initiative has published its third State of the Industry Report for the next-gen materials sector. The report notes that $3 billion has been invested into next-gen materials since 2013, with $457 million raised in 2022 alone. This figure was lower than the “unprecedented” spike to $1.135 billion in 2021, with the fall blamed on a challenging funding environment caused by the global economic downturn. However, more funding was raised in 2022 than in any year prior to 2021. Leather alternatives still dominate the sector, with 64 companies working in this area compared to 15 for silk, ten for wool, and nine for fur. Seven companies are working on alternatives to down, and one on exotic skins. Currently, 52% of the materials used …


phool's women employees sitting on the grown working with colourful flowers

@ Phool.co FB

Leather Alternatives

Fleather: Vegan Leather from Upcycled Temple Flowers

Phool is an Indian biomaterial company based in Kanpur that has developed a vegan leather alternative to animal skin using discarded temple flowers. The animal-free material, called Fleather, is a versatile textile containing chitin, a protein that gives it the same delicate and smooth touch as skin leather, explains the upcycling company. Phool was founded in 2017 by Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar to offer a sustainable solution to the toxic floral waste dumped in the Ganges river. Since its establishment, the company has converted flower waste into charcoal-free incense and oily fragrances. The company upcycles tons of floral waste annually and creates valuable employment opportunities for families and female ‘flowercyclers” from the area. In 2021, Fleather won PETA India’s Best Innovation in Vegan Fashion Award, and recently, …



The Weekend bag by ©Frida Rome available at www.ImmaculateVegan.com  

Leather Alternatives

Portugal Bans ‘Vegan Leather’, Industry Insiders Speak Out

A ban on the term ‘vegan leather’ and other plant-based prefixes has been announced in Portugal. Alt leather companies now using prefixes such as ‘vegan’, ‘plant-based’, or ‘pineapple’ or even “synthetic” along with the word “leather” in their product marketing may face fines and criminal proceedings.  Portugal has a thriving fashion and textiles industry, with companies like B_Boheme producing sustainable shoes from vegan leather in the country. Founder Alicia Lai told vegconomist; “We have all heard the terms ‘vegan sausage’, ‘vegan chocolate’ and ‘vegan leather’. These terms are not aiming to mislead consumers but to show that there are no animal ingredients in the product, and these terms are very much accepted”. The new laws claim that terms such as ‘vegan leather’ are technically incorrect …


Founders Jordy and Julia Kay. © Great Wrap

Sustainability / Environment

Great Wrap Develops Compostable Cling Wrap Made From Potato Waste

Australian materials science company Great Wrap has used potato waste to develop home compostable cling wrap. The company was founded by husband and wife team Jordy and Julia Kay, who set out to disrupt reliance on petroleum-based plastics. They found a way to divert potato waste from landfill and create a wrap that breaks down into carbon and water in under 180 days. Last month, Great Wrap raised $24 million in its Series A funding round, with investors including Groundswell Ventures, Springbank Collective, and Trail Mix Ventures. This will allow the company to set up a biorefinery with the capacity to manufacture 30,000 tons of wrap by the end of next year. If this target is achieved, Great Wrap will be Australia’s largest cling wrap …


Scelta mushroom fat

Image: Scelta / vegconomist


These 3 Companies Are Creating Healthy Fat Alternatives From Mushrooms

Today, we look into three companies using mushrooms to create healthy fats for plant-based foods. Interest in mushrooms continues to grow among consumers and manufacturers since these wonders of nature, neither plants nor animals, offer exceptional functionality, encompassing supplements, textiles, meat alternatives, beverages, colorings, and now fats.  Some mushrooms have a high lipid content, composed of unsaturated fatty acids, that can be used to replace vegetable and saturated fats. According to Brazilian researchers, edible mushrooms worldwide contain linoleic, linolenic, and oleic acids (some more than others), making them an important essential fatty acid source for a healthy diet.  The global mushroom market is expected to reach $115.8 billion by 2030, and mushrooms were named Ingredient of the Year by The New York Times in 2022. 1. Scelta Mushrooms Scelta Mushrooms, …


Cluster oyster mushroom steaks Wicked Kitchen

©Wicked Kitchen

Fungi, Mushrooms & Mycelium

Market Report Says the “World Has Discovered a Treasure Trove in Fungi”

A new report published by GlobalData.com shows that interest in fungi as a health food is growing across the globe. 57% of people questioned believe mushrooms can positively impact their health. Only 5% of participants felt it might have a negative effect. Ryan Whittaker, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData said, “The world has discovered a treasure trove in fungi. We are seeing a significant number of new product releases from teas and mushroom-boosted supplements to pet care, skincare, and make-up products.” Fungi appear to hold the key to a world of endless possibilities, from healing our bodies and minds to restoring the very fabric of our planet. We are only currently aware of 100,000 species of fungi out of an estimated 5,000,000 out there. Scientists have …


peta campaign for vegan wool featuring a woman dressed with plants



PETA Offers $1M for Market-Ready Vegan Wool Alternative 

The animal rights group PETA launched a $1 million Vegan Wool Challenge Award this week to find the first individual, group, or company that creates a vegan wool material “visually, texturally, and functionally akin to or better than sheep’s wool.” The winning animal-free wool must be a biomaterial that is biodegradable or recyclable and has traditional wool’s advantages like maintaining body temperature, neutralising doors, and repelling moisture. Among other entry rules for the wool challenge, PETA requires the participants to demonstrate the innovative material’s commercial viability. Alternatives to animal-derived materials This vegan wool prize comes at a time when innovations in the animal-free leather category are thriving, with leather made from upcycled tamarind pods and cactus leather used to make shoes, gloves, and watches. Vegan silk is …


MycoWorks Raises $125 Million to Mass Produce Mushroom Leather



Next-Gen Material Investments Almost Double to $980M in 2021

A new report by Material Innovations has found that next-gen material investments surged to $980 million last year, up from $425.5 million in 2020. The State of the Industry report also found that the total number of companies in the industry has increased significantly in the past eight years, now standing at 95. Of these, 67 are working on leather alternatives, 12 on silk, seven on wool, six on down, and one on exotic skins. The variety of inputs used is also on the rise, with more companies developing mycelium and microbe-derived alternatives rather than plant-based. According to the report, $2.3 billion has been invested in the industry since 2015, with the market projected to be worth $2.2 billion by 2026. However, this figure is …


Ananas Anam

©Ananas Anam

Fashion, Design & Beauty

Vegan Society Study Reveals 95% of Brits Want More Vegan Fashion

A new study by the Vegan Society called The Rise of Vegan Fashion reveals that British consumers would like to buy more vegan-verified fashion. The global market for women’s vegan fashion is estimated at £289 billion in 2019, with forecasts indicating that sales will reach £799 billion in 2027. The study includes a survey showing that 95 percent of respondents would like to see more vegan-certified fashion, suggesting that there is a market for such products among non-vegans and non-vegetarians. At the same time, 48 percent said they would like to see more vegan-certified items across all fashion categories, while 35 percent said they would like to see more vegan options for items that typically use animal leather, such as jackets and boots, and 32 …


Nicole Rawlings, Co founder Material Innovations

Nicole Rawlings, Co founder Material Innovations


Material Innovation Initiative: “Major Players in the Industry are Genuinely Excited About Next-Gen, Animal-Free Materials”

The Material Innovation Initiative (MII) is a young nonprofit collective dedicated to accelerating the advancement of next-gen materials across a spectrum of industries ranging from fashion, automotive, and home goods. The goal of the initiative is to remove and replace animal materials such as leather, wool, silk, down, fur, and exotic skins.