Luya Foods AG, a spin-off from the Swiss BFH, has successfully completed its first seed round. Luya says it is redefining the plant-based protein space by creating a new category of animal-free, alt meat products created through the fermentation of upcycled okara.
Luya defines itself as a flavourful plant-based alternative to meat that doesn’t try to be meat. Luya Foods upcycles organic okara, a by-product of tofu and soy milk production, of which more than 14 million tonnes end up in waste worldwide every year despite its high nutritional value and fibre content. Luya has developed its own proprietary process – a combination of traditional fermentation methods and modern technology – to rescue okara and turn it into delicious food. The first products are ready-to-cook chunks and burger patties. With this process, Luya eliminates all additives and highly processed protein isolates and offers 100% natural and organic delicacies made in Switzerland.
The seed round was led by Redalpine Venture Partners. Previously, Luya was supported by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, VentureKick and BFH-HAFL. The fresh capital will be used to expand production, product development and enter the retail market.
Following the successful launch of Luya Okara Chunks and Luya Okara Burgers in Swiss restaurants in July 2021, the Luya team plans to launch the products in Swiss retailers in 2022. To meet the rapidly growing demand for Luya’s delicious products, a first major production increase is planned for 2022. In addition, the new funding will accelerate research and development for future Luya products and strengthen Luya’s fermentation platform.
“We are very pleased to have secured the necessary capital to launch Luya in the Swiss market, prepare our international expansion and accelerate our mission to define a new category in meat alternatives with our natural and organic products,” says co-founder Flavio Hagenbuch.
“I am very excited to start this journey together with Luya Foods. I’ve never really liked soy-based meat alternatives and this is the first product I really love – incredibly, it’s made from soy. We are very excited to help Luya Foods bring their products to consumers around the world,” says Nadine Geiser, Investment Manager at Redalpine.