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RIP Foods Closes its Doors After Four Years, “It Was David Vs Goliath”

Barcelona-based RIP Foods, a B2B plant-based meat startup for foodservice, announces its closure after four years of operations. 

Kevin Forssmann, the company’s founder, told vegconomist that “despite creating one of the best plant-based meats in the market,” financial difficulties and the inability to secure further funding played a significant role in the company’s closure. He said, “Unfortunately, our space requires funding, and most investors in our space are after IP’s.”

RIP (Rich in Plants) started in 2021, offering plant-based chicken mince developed with a fat encapsulation process claimed to mimic the taste and mouthfeel of meat. Initially targeting the HORECA channel supplying chicken mince, the startup switched to ready-to-cook products due to chef demand. In 2022, focusing on Asian street food, RIP introduced Spain’s first plant-based meat gyosas, followed by skewers, baos, katsu, and spring rolls. 

The company secured €625 thousand in the same year to accelerate its growth and expand to the Netherlands and Germany, bringing its total raised funds to almost €1 million. In 2023, the startup partnered with mycoprotein specialist Mycorena to develop a new range of street food for mainstream consumers.

RIP Foods street food
© RIP Foods

Skepticism for plant-based meat

In a conversation with vegconomist, Forssmann stated that one of the difficulties faced by the vegan industry stems from consumer expectations set by the first meat alternatives —  less tasty, made with questionable ingredients, and too expensive. Additionally, he believes that omnivores overlooked plant-based choices because they felt personally targeted and criticized by the campaign against meat products. 

“With less money in our pockets, we have had to work really hard to convince consumers”

“The recent recession and skepticism in the plant-based category have made it very difficult to raise more money for us to launch these products. With less money in our pockets, we have had to work really hard to convince consumers,” he said.

RIP Foods gyozas
©RIP Foods

The future of plant-based meat

Reflecting on his experience, the founder emphasized the importance of brand building, collaboration, and adapting to market needs: today’s consumers look for great taste, clean, sustainable, and affordable alternatives. He also said that food tech companies launch products focusing on the technology instead of the food, saying, “This is food, not an iPhone.” 

When asked about the future of plant-based meat, he responded that much more funding is needed to overcome the challenges of transforming the food system. He emphasized that governments must stop subsidizing the meat industry, which continues to benefit and grow, and ban novel products.

“It was David vs Goliath”

“We were against a trillion-dollar business. It’s a big lobby, and there’s a lot of politics involved, as we all know. Subsidies in Spain are big, and there was no chance we could go against them. It was David vs Goliath,” he said.

RIP Foods team
© RIP Foods

The vegan industry can be exciting

Forssmann also said that entering the vegan industry can be exciting and challenging. He shared advice for entrepreneurs venturing into the plant-based space for the first time saying that companies need to understand their purpose and their target consumers, find a unique niche, and prioritize taste over sustainability messaging.

He added that startups and companies should be transparent with sourcing and ingredients and consider the ethical practices of supply chains. He suggests actively collaborating with other businesses, building a community, and, most significantly, planning finances carefully, as success may take time to achieve. 

“We have had to close down simply because we haven’t managed to secure more funding. We ran the business with a small team of 17 people and never overspent the money given to us by investors,” he said.

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