Investment Climate Podcast: Rob Leclerc of AgFunder – How to Get Funded in 2024

In this podcast series, co-produced by vegconomist, Alex Shandrovsky interviews investors about benchmarks for funding Alt Proteins in 2024 and uncovers the investment playbooks of successful Climate Tech CEOs and Leading VCs. Podcast Host Alex Shandrovksy is a strategic advisor to numerous global food tech accelerators and companies, including alternative proteins and cellular agriculture leaders. His focus is on investor relations and post-raise scale for agrifood tech companies. Episode one can be found here, the second is here, and part three is here. Episode 03: AgFunder’s Rob Leclerc In this episode, Alex talks to Rob Leclerc, founding partner of AgFunder which has about $200 million in assets under management. Rob talks about how investors are looking into companies nowadays and their expectations. He also discussed …

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Vevan Foods quesedilla

© Vevan Foods

Vevan Foods Heralds the “Next Generation in Plant-Based Cheesemaking” with Recipe Revamp

Vevan Foods, a division of Schuman Cheese — the largest US importer of Italian cheeses — announces the debut of reformulated plant-based cheese products, updated packaging, and expanded distribution for its UnCreamCheese brand at all Stop & Shop locations across the United States. Founded in 2020 in Wisconsin, a state famous for its cheese industry, and created by dairy cheesemakers, Vevan Foods says that its newest formula marks the “next generation in plant-based cheesemaking”. The reformulation entails a departure from the industry standard oil-and-starch base. According to the brand, it is now “pioneering a base of plant-milks and creams that allows Schuman Cheese, Vevan’s parent company, to implement cheesemaking techniques that they have honed over the last 75 years.” The new formula comprises added protein, …

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© Future of Foods

Future of Foods Podcast: Mark Warner, CEO of Liberation Labs

Alex Crisp, Host of Future of Foods Interviews, talks to Mark Warner CEO of Liberation Labs about building massive capacity for producing ‘hero’ proteins without using animals. Going forward much of our milk and eggs could come from precision fermentation facilities such as those being constructed by Liberation Labs. The Indiana-based biomanufacturing firm says that it “works with biotechnology’s visionaries to commercialize the bioproducts of the future – foods, materials, and yet to be discovered breakthroughs that will make all of our lives better.” Liberation Labs received $10 million from Agronomics this April for its previously announced commercial-scale biomanufacturing facility in the Midwest Industrial Park in Richmond, Indiana. The plant is due to be fully completed by the end of this year, explains Warner, who …

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SCiFi Foods Cultivated Beef

Co-founders Joshua March & Kasia Gora ©SCiFi Foods

SCiFi Foods Ceases Operations Amid Funding Challenges

SCiFi Foods, a startup engaged in developing cultivated meat, has ceased operations and initiated the sale of its intellectual property and assets through an advisory firm. The San Leandro, California-based company, originally founded as Artemys Foods in 2019, had rebranded to SCiFi Foods in 2022. The company aimed to produce a hybrid burger combining cultivated beef and plant-based ingredients to reach price parity with conventional beef. The company had raised approximately $40 million from various venture capital funds and notable investors, including the British band Coldplay, according to AgFunderNews. SCiFi Foods distinguished itself by utilizing CRISPR technology to accelerate the cultivation process and by aiming to produce hybrid burgers containing around 10% cultured meat and the remainder plant-based proteins. Technological breakthroughs The company reported achieving …

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Seed to Surf

© Seed to Surf

Tinned Plant-Based Fish Brand Seed to Surf Announces National Whole Foods Rollout

Seed to Surf, a Canadian plant-based seafood company, has announced its expansion into more than 150 Whole Foods Market locations across North America starting this month. The company, which specializes in tinned plant-based fish, was recently highlighted in the Whole Foods 2024 Trend Report for its innovative approach to plant-based seafood, earning recognition for “Fancy Faux Fish” and “Putting the ‘Plant’ Back in ‘Plant-Based.’” A recent survey commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council found North Americans are concerned about the oceans, that 19% would eat more seafood if they knew it wouldn’t harm the oceans, and 64% felt an increased desire to protect the marine environment, indicating a consumer desire for such products in line with a demand for seafood that is not detrimental to …

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Flora plant butter with paper packaging

© Upfield

Upfield Reports €3.3Bn in Net Sales & Significant Emissions Reductions in 2023

Global plant-based food producer Upfield has published its 2023 Financial & ESG Summary, reporting significant business growth and sustainability achievements. The company achieved net sales of €3.3 billion for the calendar year 2023, reaching an additional 55 million consumers globally through brands such as Flora, Violife, Blue Band, Rama, and Proactiv. The total addressable market for Upfield products across the spread, margarine, cheese, and cream categories is estimated to be over €150 billion, indicating significant potential for further growth. Upfield’s sustainability achievements in 2023 included the reduction of Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 13.5% per ton of production compared to 2022. This was made possible by responsible sourcing practices and investment in low-carbon energy. Additionally, the company launched a plastic-free …

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Pink Albatross mango ice cream stick

© Pink Albatross

Spain’s Pink Albatross Announces “New Category” of Ice Creams Following International Growth

Pink Albatross, the Spanish company specialising in 100% plant-based ice cream, has announced what it claims is a new category of ice creams with “creamy ice creams that are 100% natural and scrumptious”. Under the slogan “Ahora vamos de este palo” (a play on words which translates as ‘Now we’re going this way’ but with palo also meaning stick, referring to the ice cream sticks), the new innovations include mango & passion fruit and strawberry & raspberry fruit bars alongside mini Belgian chocolate sticks in double chocolate and hazelnut flavours. Pink Albatross already has a solid presence in the Spanish market; the company secured a presence in 500 new points of sale, including new chains such as Alcampo, Carrefour Market, Dinosol, Upper, Sorli, and Valvi. …

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Cashewbert cheese made by Veganz

Cashewbert © Veganz

Veganz Group AG Secures Funding from the State of Brandenburg for Construction of New Production Facility

Veganz Group AG already had its application for investment grants approved by the Brandenburg Investment Bank last year and has now also received notification that the agreed grants will be utilised. This means that the investments made to date, as well as further planned investments in production facilities and the expansion of production capacities, can be settled within the framework of the agreed subsidies. With the investments at Veganz Group AG’s new site in Ludwigsfelde, which houses the company’s headquarters as well as the production of the new, innovative milk alternative Mililk® using the 2D printing process and the ‘meat from peas’ production line, Veganz Group AG has successfully completed the transformation process it initiated in 2020 from a trading company to a production company. …

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Chef Woo noodles beef in bag

© Chef Woo / Borealis Foods

Borealis Foods: What Happened with the Gordon Ramsay-Backed Ramen Producer?

Borealis Foods, a Canadian food tech company, was established in 2019 with a stated mission to tackle global food insecurity through innovative, nutritious food products. The company launched its Chef Woo ramen line in 2020, aiming to provide a high-protein vegan alternative to packaged ramen at an accessible price point. Chef Woo, marketed as “the world’s first vegan ramen noodle brand,” features traditional ramen flavors such as Roasted Chicken, Braised Beef, and Thai Lemongrass. The company’s products are available in over 15,000 retail locations across the US and Canada, including Walmart, Aldi, and Amazon.  In addition to Chef Woo, Borealis Foods’ portfolio includes Ramen Express, another plant-based noodle brand, and options tailored for foodservice. The company is also expanding its non-retail efforts, such as providing …

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Heather Mills at Vegan Women Summit

© Vegan Women Summit

“Woman of the Year” Heather Mills to Call for Plant Based Treaty at Bonn Climate Conference

Vegan entrepreneur and charity campaigner Heather Mills is set to appear at the Bonn Climate Conference in Germany this week to call for a global Plant Based Treaty. Advocates for the treaty will set up a food truck at the entrance to the conference, giving out 2000 free hotdogs donated by Mills and her plant-based food company, VBites. At the conference, Mills will urge world leaders to make policy changes such as shifting subsidies from animal agriculture to the plant-based sector. She will also meet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to discuss a pathway to 100% plant-based catering at future climate conferences such as COP29. 18,000 people have already signed the Plant Based Treaty’s petition calling for all food served at …

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Following the successful creation of a cultivated eel prototype claimed as the world’s first, Israel's Forsea Foods debuted the product at its first official tasting at Restaurant "a" in Tel Aviv.

© Liran Maimon

40 Guests Taste Forsea’s Cultivated Eel at Official Tasting: “Feedback was Uplifting”

Following the successful creation of a cultivated eel prototype claimed as a world first, Israel’s Forsea Foods announces it has recently debuted the product at its first official tasting at restaurant “a” in Tel Aviv. According to the announcement, more than 40 guests had the opportunity to taste Forsea’s cultivated eel fillets in various dishes. The menu’s centerpiece was Unagi kabayaki, a Japanese specialty of grilled fresh eel on a bed of aromatic rice (featured image). Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder of Forsea, shares, “Since the start of the year, we have made significant advancements in improving our cell lines. We also have been working diligently to enhance our recipes. This event was a great opportunity for us to present our unprecedented achievements to partners and …

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Pete Speranza, Sarno brothers

© Wicked Kitchen/Good Catch

Wicked Kitchen Acquired by Ahimsa Companies in Strategic Industry Consolidation

Wicked Kitchen, a global plant-based food brand, along with its associated brands Good Catch and Current Foods, has been acquired by the Ahimsa Companies, becoming part of its plant-based industry consolidation effort.  Pete Speranza, CEO of Wicked Kitchen, stated, “We are aligned in our mission, and we believe that Wicked Kitchen is stronger today and better positioned to serve the health and environmentally conscious consumer who does not want to sacrifice on taste or convenience.” Wicked Kitchen, founded by chefs Derek and Chad Sarno, offers a wide range of plant-based foods, including frozen meal solutions, desserts, ingredients, and snacks. Its products are available in over 20,000 retailers and online, with over 50 products in the US and more than 150 in the UK. Industry consolidation …

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Followfood tuna

© followfood

Followfood Launches New Vegan Products Following 50% YOY Growth of Vegan Sales

Germany’s followfood, a sustainable food pioneer with a portfolio of more than 150 products, including traditional seafood, fish and meat alternatives, and vegetarian and vegan products made with traceable ingredients through a tracking code, says it recorded growth of over 20%, both in seafood and plant-based products, in the first four months of 2024. Jürg Knoll, the company’s co-founder and CEO, told Lebensmittel Praxis that its plant-based sales had grown by over 50% compared to the previous year despite the challenging economic environment. This year, followfood has expanded its portfolio with 20 organic innovations, two-thirds plant-based, to fuel growth. The company expects a turnover between €75 and €80 million in 2024, after two years of overall slower sales. The new products include four types of …

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Brevel cheese

Image supplied by Brevel, credit Eldad Shatz

Biomass Fermentation Leader Brevel Inaugurates Commercial Plant for Affordable, Nutritious Microalgae Protein

Israel’s Brevel, a biomass fermentation startup using microalgae protein to create sustainable ingredients, announces the grand opening of its first commercial plant. Last July, the company secured $18.5 million in seed funding led by NevaTeam Partners and backed by the European Union’s EIC Fund, facilitating the current phase of commercial-scale production and global expansion. Located in Israel’s desert periphery, the new site covers 27,000 square feet (2,500m²) and includes headquarters, a large R&D center, and a large commercial manufacturing area. It features multiple bioreactors at different scales: 3, 50, 500 L, and the company’s first 5,000 L bioreactor. At the new site, Brevel can produce hundreds of tons of its flagship ingredient — a 60-70% microalgae protein concentrate for meat and dairy alternatives. The first …

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Oatly

© Oatly

Oatly Scraps Plans for UK Factory, Pivots to Asset-Light Strategy for Profitable Growth

Back in 2021, pre-IPO Oatly revealed its plans to build one of the world’s biggest vegan dairy factories. Initially set to open in 2023 in Peterborough, UK, and create 200 jobs in the region, the market leader said at the time, “We’re really excited to finally announce the news of its arrival in 2023. The UK is a really important driver of the global plant-based movement, with growing demand for Oatly across the country, and we’re excited to supply this increased demand.” The BBC and local Peterborough press published stories at the end of last week regarding the cancellation of these plans. Speaking to Oatly on Friday, the company stated that this announcement was in fact made last November in an earnings presentation, during which …

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Australian plant-based meat producer ProForm Foods enters voluntary administration

© ProForm Foods

Australian Plant-Based Meat Producer ProFrom Foods Enters Voluntary Administration

ProForm Foods, an Australian plant-based meat company and producer of the MEET brand, has entered voluntary administration. Gayle Dickerson and James Dampney of financial advisory firm KPMG Australia have been appointed as administrators, and the first meeting of creditors was reportedly held on May 30. ProForm Foods will continue to operate as normal during the administration process, with MEET products — which include mince, burgers, and tenders — remaining on supermarket shelves. ProForm Foods began operations in 2005 as a research and development company producing protein ingredients, before launching MEET in 2008. The company claims to have been Australia’s first commercial plant protein producer, and has developed a technology called ProForm High Moisture Cooking to improve the taste and texture of meat alternatives. As well …

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Cultivated meat company BioCraft Pet Nutrition, a manufacturer of pet food ingredients, announces that it has reached price parity with premium traditional meat

© BioCraft Pet Nutrition

BioCraft’s Cultivated Ingredients Achieve Price Parity with Premium Meat for Pet Food

Austrian cultivated meat company BioCraft Pet Nutrition, a manufacturer of cultivated ingredients for pet food, today makes an announcement claiming it has reached price parity with traditional premium pet meat products.  BioCraft says it has achieved a commercial price of $2.00 to $2.50 per pound of cultivated meat, making it competitive with premium meat for pet food. To put these prices in context, research by the Good Food Institute found that cultivated meat could be cost-competitive with some conventional meats by 2030 at a production cost of $2.92 per pound. CEO Shannon Falconer commented, “Achieving price parity and a robust nutritional profile for pets were the only elements holding back cultivated meat for the pet food industry — and BioCraft has now achieved both.” Rethinking …

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Investment Climate Podcast: Robert Boer of Blue Horizon – How to Get Funded in 2024

In this new podcast series, co-produced by vegconomist, Alex Shandrovksy interviews investors about benchmarks for funding alt proteins in 2024 and uncovers the investment playbooks of successful Climate Tech CEOs and Leading VCs. Podcast Host Alex Shandrovksy is a strategic advisor to numerous global food tech accelerators and companies, including leaders in alternative protein and cellular agriculture. His focus is on investor relations and post-raise scale for agrifood tech companies. Episode one from last month can be found here. Episode 02: Blue Horizon’s Robert Boer In this episode, Alex talks to Robert Boer, director at Blue Horizon Corporation, a leading investment fund in alternative proteins. During the conversation, Robert shared the top mistakes founders make when approaching the fund and best practices for getting funded. Key …

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Heura plant-based butcher shop

© Heura

Heura Opens Itinerant Plant-Based Butcher Shop in France as Traditional Butchers Close

Paris has reportedly lost a third of its traditional butcher shops over the past two decades, and Spanish plant-based meat brand Heura is stepping up to fill the gap. The company has announced the launch of an itinerant plant-based butcher shop that will initially come to three E-Leclerc hypermarkets in France, followed by a series of other stores in the coming months. Customers will be able to try flagship Heura products such as burgers, mince, and nuggets, along with the brand’s additive-free plant-based ham. Chef Clément Werbrouck, who is the Head of Plant-Based Cuisine at Heura, will also be present to give cooking demonstrations showing how plant-based meat can be incorporated into French cuisine. Heura first launched in France in 2021, and the brand’s products …

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Israel's InnovoPro, a leading provider of chickpea protein solutions, has appointed Greg Belt as its new CEO.

Greg Belt, image supplied

InnovoPro Appoints Gregory Belt as CEO to Drive Expansion of Chickpea Proteins in F&B

InnovoPro, a leading provider of chickpea protein solutions, has announced the appointment of Gregory Belt as its new CEO. Based in the USA, Belt will spearhead the company’s strategic expansion into the food and beverage market. Belt has a proven track record and deep expertise in building new ventures and strategic planning for innovation-driven growth. His experience, gained from companies like AB InBev, has allowed him to gain commercial traction, particularly in the dynamic landscape of North America. With a ‘wealth of experience’ and a fresh perspective, Belt is poised to lead InnovoPro into its next phase of growth and expansion, focusing on clean-label products and natural emulsifiers. After seven years of leadership as co-founder and first CEO, Taly Nechushtan will transition to the role …

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