The 125 selected participants were required to meet at least one of France 2030’s objectives; they had to demonstrate capabilities to accelerate their development and have high technological level and economic potential, among other prerequisites.
Announced on June 14, the program’s participants will benefit from financial and extra-financial support for one year. La French Tech alongside the Secrétariat général pour l’investissement and Bpifrance, operate the program.
Founded in 2020 by Tristan Maurel and Martin Habfast, with the support of AgroParisTech and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Umiami manufactures 100% vegan meat and fish to transform the food production system. The startup’s first product range includes alternatives to chicken breasts, cod, and nuggets.
“We must change our eating habits to reduce our environmental footprint, but this isn’t always easy. Our plant-based chicken contributes to ecological transition, by enabling consumers to increase the amount of plant protein on their plates, without too much effort, and without delay,” Habfast said in a statement announcing a €30 million raise.
To challenge animal eaters, Umiami makes large, fibrous whole cuts that mimic meat’s texture using scalable proprietary technology. Moreover, according to the French startup, its flagship product, the gourmet chicken breast, is high in protein and clean label, without texturizers or methylcellulose.
“Until now, there was no technology available to create thick and fibrous pieces of meat. This explains why the choice was limited to small or minced pieces of meat. With our process, we can control both the thickness and direction of the fibers in thick, whole piece-like products. This allows us to create a wide variety of plant-based meats and fish,” explained Tristan Maurel when the company raised €2.3 million to further develop its tech.
Last December, the company acquired a former Unilever facility in the Alsace region of France. With 14,000 m2 and production capabilities of up to 22,000 tonnes of meat and seafood alternatives annually, Umiami certainly checks as a candidate to strengthen France’s sovereignty.
According to Umiami, the new facility will be the only one in the world capable of producing plant-based versions of any meat or fish fillet. Its production lines are planned to roll in Q3 this year.
The new industrial R&D center was purchased with capital raised in a $30 million funding round in April 2022. The round was claimed as the largest ever in the European plant-based sector.
In preparation for its first large-scale production, which targets European and international markets, the company is recruiting 70 new staff to make its vegan meat made in France. According to the startup, it has major clients in Northern Europe, North America, and South East Asia.
“Being a part of this esteemed French program is a tremendous honor that reinforces our commitment to driving technological innovation and pushing boundaries. We are humbled by the recognition and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to France’s thriving tech ecosystem,” Umiami shared on LinkedIn.