Investments & Acquisitions

Tender Food Raises $11M to “Replace” Extrusion and Animal Agriculture, Appoints Oatly President to Board

Tender Food Inc., a foodtech based in the Greater Boston Area, announces it has successfully closed over $11 million in Series A funding. Additionally, the company announces that Mike Messersmith, previously North American President of Oatly, has joined its board of directors to accelerate commercialization.

The round was led by Rhapsody Venture Partners, with existing investors Lowercarbon Capital and Safar Partners and new investors Claridge Partners and Nor’easter Ventures. Tender’s $12 million Seed Round in 2022 famously included actress Natalie Portman.

On a mission to replace extrusion tech

The company, founded by Harvard engineers, states that it is aiming to “become the manufacturing platform for the industry, replacing traditional extrusion and ultimately animal agriculture” with its patented technology that spins plant protein fibers like cotton candy to create whole cuts of meat such as pulled pork, chicken breast, and steak.

Tender Food whole cut chicken
© Brian Samuels photography

The fresh capital will be utilized to scale up capacity at its new facility to millions of pounds and commercialize its first products while further lowering production costs. “Our production costs are already low today and we have barely started scaling,” comments Christophe Chantre, co-founder and CEO.

“Offering products that compete with animal meat on price is critical for this industry to grow”

Tender Food recently partnered with Clover Food Lab to add its plant-based chicken and pork to menus at the chain’s 11 locations throughout the Boston metro area. Other foodservice collaborations include Olin College of Engineering, Tender’s first university partner, as revealed this April.

Unlocking tremendous industry growth

“Offering products that compete with animal meat on price is critical for this industry to grow. Tender’s technology solves this major challenge and will unlock tremendous industry growth,” says Chantre.

A plant-based tender pork sandwich on a plate
© Tender Food

“Consumers are largely disappointed with plant-based meat products in the market—they’re too expensive, they don’t taste good, and are mostly limited to burgers and sausages with long, unrecognizable ingredient lists.

“We need new technologies to address these challenges and drive meaningful adoption in this category, which is crucial for decarbonizing our food system. Our technology allows us to create healthy products that taste great, have the structure and feel of animal meat and are much cheaper to produce,” he concludes.

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