Investments & Finance

AuraPea Raises $1.5M For Chickpea-Based Meat, Plans Expansion Into Europe & Asia

AuraPea is a new Richmond, VA  company pioneering clean-ingredient alternative meats using the brand’s novel chickpea base, known as Auratein. 

Founded by Ben Pasternak in early 2021, AuraPea succeeded in raising $1.5 million from investors to lead a “new frontier” of food innovation in Richmond and the Mid-Atlantic region, according to the Washington Business Journal

Free of common fillers 

Unlike most plant-based meats on the market, AuraPea completely excludes the use of fillers and emulsifiers, such as methlycellulose, to bind plant proteins together. Instead, as Pasternak explains, AuraPea utilizes a patented process that transforms chickpea’s protein while fully maintaining its binding structure and capabilities. This preservation of functionality, Pasternak says, allows the protein to naturally bind without the use of added fillers. 

Taco-Crumble AuraPea
©AuraPea

AuraPea’s product line currently includes meaty crumbles in taco, chorizo, Italian, and breakfast varieties.  The company has also revealed plans to sell plant-based bacon and pepperoni. 

Pasternak, who additionally serves as president and chief executive officer of Defiant Food Group, a producer of culinary innovation systems, says AuraPea wants to offer consumers a nutritionally balanced, delicious-tasting option without compromising the integrity of ingredients. 

Expanding beyond the US

With the fresh funds, the company is now working on plans to expand to Europe and Asia within the next few years. To that end, Pasternak reports AuraPea has already secured manufacturing patents in Europe, with the patent process in Asia currently underway. In Europe, the company plans to bring the same products sold in the US to that region’s market in 2023. 

AuraPea Chickpea Protein Tacos
©AuraPea

The majority of the products in the market have a lot of filler and products that aren’t really clean label,” Pasternak told the Journal. “We felt there was a space for us to take the technology we use and create a superior product for the alternative protein space.”

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