Investments & Acquisitions

Umaro Foods Raises $3.8M for Seaweed Bacon, is “Laser Focused on Undercutting Hormel and Smithfield on Cost” 

Berkeley California’s Umaro Foods, producer of bacon from the proprietary red protein, Umaro, announces a raise of $3.8 million following a reported sixfold growth in sales.

With the financing — a combination of equity and grant funding — Umaro is set to launch its innovative, patent-holding product into retail and expand its seaweed platform technology platform. The equity funding round was led by AgFunder with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, Climate Capital Bio, Ponderosa Ventures, and early investor and NBA athlete Chris Paul.

The company states that this Seed 2 equity funding round, along with a grant from the DOE’s ARPA-E program for the application of Umaro’s seaweed processing technology to new products, “not only validate Umaro Foods’ innovative approach but also secure its position as a leader in the future of food technology”.

Umaro with seaweed
© Umaro Foods

Nailing the crispy, fatty texture of pork bacon

Umaro harnesses the natural umami flavors of seaweed to create a unique plant-based bacon that was an instant hit with investor Mark Cuban of Shark Tank in 2022 and in foodservice establishments across the US, most recently rolling out onto the menu at Meta Burger for example.

Says CEO Beth Zotter, “Our innovative, seaweed-based formula for bacon is what differentiates our product from other brands and is now patented in the US. After achieving incredible traction in restaurants across the country, with sales growing sixfold in one year, we’re looking forward to reaching new customers.”

“People love our bacon because it nails the crispy, fatty texture of pork bacon,” she explains.

Now, in a strategic move to broaden its market reach, Umaro Foods is expanding its food products into retail, with a major launch planned for 2024. Firstly, at Expo West this year, Umaro Foods will showcase two new products: a Bacon, Egg & Cheese breakfast sandwich, and Umaro Bacon Bits. The new sandwich was inspired by the overwhelming popularity of the top-selling “B.E.C” sandwich served in more than 60 bodegas across New York City.

Umaro Foods’ next phase of growth is fueled by an automated, high-throughput manufacturing process that will produce its plant-based bacon product at half the cost of pork bacon. “Scaling up is all about unit economics, and that’s why we used our last round of financing to prepare for high throughput, low capex manufacturing,” said Zotter.

Umaro Foods breakfast sandwich
© Umaro Foods

“We are immensely grateful for the support from our investors and the DOE’s ARPA-E program,” said Zotter. “This funding not only fuels our growth but also accelerates our mission to create sustainable, delicious alternatives that benefit both people and the planet. We’re excited to embark on this next chapter.”

“We are laser-focused on undercutting Hormel and Smithfield on cost,” she adds, and we salute her.

Attendees at Expo West can visit Umaro Foods at Booth 211 to experience the product innovations firsthand.

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