Tender Food, a food tech startup based in Boston, has raised $12 million in a seed round featuring actress and animal rights activist Natalie Portman amongst other VC’s, for uniquely textured plant meats.
Founded by Harvard engineers, Tender Food uses novel tech to spin plant-based fibers into alt meat, creating whole muscle cut products like chicken breasts, pulled pork, and steaks, and plans to launch its first products later this year.
“Our ambition is to make products that are indistinguishable from butchered meat”
Claiming that its novel plant-based fiber spinning tech – similar to making cotton candy – gives its alt meat analogs a more similar texture to animal meat, Tender Food will use the new funding to scale production for its coming products lines. Tender Food says its alt meats have textures and cooking properties indiscernible from animal meat, with high protein nutritional profiles but no additives or fillers.
Food tech specialist investor Unovis joined the funding round, along with Natalie Portman and other VCs. Unovis recently closed an oversubscribed $166 million second fund, while Natalie Portman has invested previously in vegan bacon specialist La Vie and mycelium pioneer MycoWorks.
“Our ambition is to make products that are indistinguishable from butchered meat,” explained Christophe Chantre, CEO and co-founder of Tender. “By recreating the textures and fibers of animal-based meats, we can ensure that no matter what cut of meat you want, a plant-based product from Tender is what you reach for.”