Zero Acre Farms has raised $37 million from star investors such as Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, as it seeks to bring an end to the era of vegetable oils. With widespread reliance on destructive vegetable oils linked to chronic disease and deforestation, Zero Acre Farms is creating healthy oils and fats made by fermentation.
“Today, we announce our mission: to remove destructive “vegetable” oils from the food system”
The California-based company has identified vegetable oils – including soybean, sunflower, canola, and palm oil – as one of the most consumed foods in the world and the fastest-growing sub-sector of global agriculture. The increase in consumption is not only connected to obesity and heart disease – now the leading cause of death in the world – but also environmental disaster, as two of the top three drivers of global deforestation are vegetable oil, according to the company.
Says Founder Jeff Nobbs: “Zero Acre Farms is on a mission to remove destructive vegetable oils from the food system. And we’re not going to stop until restaurant deep fryers, home pantries, and packaged foods around the world are finally free of these harmful oils and fats.
“If we succeed, we think the result will be nothing short of the reversal of chronic disease and obesity rates, as well as a massive slowing of climate change and the restoration of millions of acres of natural ecosystems. So that’s our plan. That’s what drives us, and we hope you’ll join us.”
Fermentation as the future
Zero Acre Farms is using fermentation to create a new category of healthy oils and fats. To discuss the science and controversies around different oils and fats, Zero Acre Farms is hosting a virtual summit, called the Future of Fat on March 3 featuring leading doctors, researchers, climate scientists, and thought leaders.
On Twitter, Nobbs makes some interesting and bold statements. “At @ZeroAcreFarms, we are on a mission to remove destructive vegetable oils from the food system. And we’re not going to stop until restaurant deep fryers, home pantries, and packaged foods around the world are finally free of these harmful oils and fats.”
Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures
The $37 million oversubscribed Series A round featured an all-star group climate and food investors, including Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, Richard Branson‘s Virgin Group, and Chef Dan Barber, among others. Robert Downey Jr. personally invested $10 million into the sustainable-future-focused venture fund, which has also invested in mycelium bacon pioneer Myforest (formerly Atlast) and plant-based casein innovator Nobell Foods.
“Fermentation is the original culinary art, after fire,” explains Nobbs. “We use this ancient technique to produce oils and fats with significantly lower levels of the bad fats that have been linked to inflammation and disease while having a fraction of the environmental footprint. We’re proud to be the first company stepping up with the mission to completely remove industrial ‘vegetable’ oils from our food system.”