Billie Eilish and Finneas

Image: @billieeilish on Instagram

Food Service

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell Set to Open Vegan Italian Eatery, Argento, in LA

In a collaboration with plant-based restaurateur Nic Adler, global pop star Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell are set to debut Argento, a vegan Italian restaurant in the heart of Silver Lake, Los Angeles. Scheduled to open its doors next month, Argento takes over the space once occupied by Little Pine, a vegan eatery established in 2015 by vegan musician Moby. Adler, known for expanding the local plant-based scene in LA with establishments like Monty’s Good Burgers and Nic’s On Beverly, aims to infuse Argento with a neighborhood restaurant ambiance. The revamp of the space includes a VIP chef’s table and an expanded outdoor patio. Argento’s menu promises a departure from processed alternative meat items, opting instead to celebrate whole, plant-based foods. Adler emphasizes …


Hemp Burger

© Planet Based Foods

Company News

Planet Based Foods Expands in Northern California, Appoints Food Waste Expert Gregory Maselli to Board

Planet Based Foods Global Inc (CSE: PBF), a specialist in hemp-based foods, continues its expansion in North America and announces wider availability of its products in California. To that end, Planet Based Food has entered into new partnerships with New Leaf Community Markets and Lunardi’s Markets, which will begin carrying several of the company’s products in December. Planet Based Foods is also announcing a share consolidation. The consolidation is intended to provide the company with a better capital structure to obtain financing. Furthermore, the company has appointed Gregory Maselli to the company’s Board of Directors. Maselli is the co-founder and former CEO of SAVR Pak, a company focused on reducing food waste through patented technologies. He is also the founder of 117 Global, an international …


Girl drinking milk in school

© Lightfield Studios -

Politics & Law

LA Student Wins Legal Battle for Plant-Based Options, Soy Milk Now Available on Request

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recently concluded a legal settlement with Marielle Williamson, a 2023 graduate of Eagle Rock High School, in collaboration with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The lawsuit, which ruled in favor of Williamson, involved the promotion of plant-based milk within the educational system, pushing back on dairy as the default beverage option. The lawsuit began when Williamson was prohibited from distributing literature critiquing cow’s milk in her school, citing its impact on human health, animal welfare, and the environment. This incident prompted a broader conversation about the role of dairy products in American schools and the current federal laws regarding its compulsory inclusion in the National School Lunch Program. Filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, the …


Yali Bio appoints Don DiMasi, a bioeconomy leader and former Impossible Foods executive, as the new senior vice president of engineering and biomanufacturing.

Don DiMasi © Yali Bio


Former Impossible Foods Executive Joins Yali Bio to Scale Animal-Free Fats

Yali Bio, a biotech company based in California, announces the appointment of Dr. Don DiMasi, a bioeconomy leader and former Impossible Foods executive, as the new SVP of engineering and biomanufacturing. DiMasi, the first to fill this role, will focus on building process development and the company’s biomanufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for animal-free fats for alt dairy products such as butter, cheese, and ice cream. DiMasi has an extensive experience in industrial bioprocessing. He was recently recognized in The Bioeconomy 500 2023, as one of the sector’s most outstanding leaders. Formerly, he was Impossible Foods’ SVP of engineering and process development. During his tenure at Impossible, the company launched the Impossible Burger and rolled out the Impossible Whopper with Burger King. “Don will …


Algenesis produces a plastic-like material made from plants and algae that is biodegradable.



Algenesis Secures $5M to Produce at Scale Biodegradable Plastic Made From Algae

San Diego-based Algenesis Corporation, the plant-based material science company behind the biodegradable shoe brand BLUEVIEW, announces it has raised $5 million in a seed funding round to expand production and commercialization of Soleic PU, a plastic biomaterial made from plants and algae. Additionally, with the new funds, the company will expand Soleic product lines into breathable and waterproof textiles and phone cases. Soleic PU is currently available in soft foam applications, such as midsoles and insoles for footwear. In previous partnerships with the surfing brands REEF and Artic Form, the company created innovative algae foam blank surfboards.  First Bight Ventures and Circulate Capital led the round, with MIH Capital, Diamond Sports Group, and RhinoShield supporting the biomaterials company. The investment follows a $5 million grant from the US Department …


Aquatic plant Lemma

Image courtesy of Plantible


Plantible and ICL Unveil “Revolutionary” Clean-Label Alternative to Methylcellulose Made with Duckweed

US duckweed ingredients company Plantible Foods and ICL Food Specialties, a leading manufacturer of functional ingredients, have introduced ROVITARIS, a “revolutionary” clean label binding solution for plant-based meat and seafood applications.  ROVITARIS is described as a functional protein system designed to replace chemically processed binders, such as methylcellulose, without compromising the taste and texture of foods. Moreover, it makes plant-based meat products “taste better and perform more authentically,” says Plantible. The new ingredient features RuBisCO, a protein that Plantible extracts from the aquatic plant Lemna (duckweed) commercialized as the Rubi Protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids and can mimic the functions of animal proteins, including emulsifying and binding. The Rubi Protein is also neutral in color, odor, and flavor.  “Plant-based protein formulators have been searching for a …


Plant Power Fast Food coney dog

© Plant Power Fast Food

Products & Launches

Comedian Tim Robinson and Plant Power Fast Food Team Up to Launch Plant-Based Coney Dog

Plant-based fast food chain Plant Power Fast Food introduces a vegan version of the Coney hot dog in collaboration with comedian and actor Tim Robinson. The Coney dog, a Midwest favorite, is traditionally topped with a meaty chili sauce, mustard, and finely chopped white onions. Although it’s often associated with Coney Island in New York, the popular dish originated in Michigan, making the partnership especially close to Tim’s heart as a Midwesterner. Plant Power Fast Food is not just launching a plant-based Coney dog but is also offering limited-edition “Coney Club” hats and t-shirts showcasing the collaboration, which are available for purchase online. Proceeds from the sales of the Coney dog and exclusive merchandise will be channeled toward the non-profit organization, Youth Climate Save, which …


US-based cultivated seafood company BlueNalu has raised $33.5 million to scale its cultivated toro platform.

© BlueNalu

Investments & Finance

BlueNalu Secures $33.5M to Expand Cultivated Toro Platform Ahead of Launch

US-based cultivated seafood company BlueNalu has raised $33.5 million from new and existing investors in a Series B round, announces Agronomics, the UK’s leading biotech VC with a strong portfolio of cell ag companies, including BlueNalu. The new funds will allow BlueNalu to scale the production of cultivated toro (the high-value portion of bluefin tuna) and demonstrate the technological capabilities of its platform to create whole-muscle products. BlueNalu is based in San Diego, California, where it operates a 40,000-square-foot pilot facility producing small batches and carrying out market testing and research insights in food service settings across the USA. The announced plan is to scale the current production further and prepare to launch, following regulatory approval, its first commercial product (toro). BlueNalu raised $60 million in debt financing …


Pow.Bio has announced a $9.5 million raise to reduce the biomanufacturing costs of animal-free ingredients.

© Pow.Bio

Investments & Finance

Pow.Bio Raises $9.5M to Reduce the High Costs of Animal-Free Ingredients

Californian biomanufacturing company Pow.Bio has announced a $9.5 million raise in a Series A round to run what it claims is the first-ever AI-controlled, automated continuous fermentation platform for precision fermentation ingredients capable of reducing biomanufacturing costs.  Re:Food and Thia Ventures led the round, joined by Hitachi Ventures, the venture capital arm of Hitachi. Possible Ventures, XFactor Ventures, Bee Partners, iSelect, Climate Capital, Vectors Angel, Better Ventures, and Cantos supported the CDMO in this round. “Early on, we identified continuous fermentation as a necessity to enable cost-competitive, sustainable food production. We are excited to partner with Pow.Bio because of the strength of their continuous platform, the quality of their team, and their commitment and vision for a more sustainable SynBio future,” said Peter Odemark, co-founder and managing …


Biomaterials company Bolt Threads has announced plans to become a public company listed on the Nasdaq through a SPAC agreement.

Dan Widmaier - Image courtesy of Ashley Batz for Bolt Threads

Investments & Finance

Bolt Threads Enters $250 Million SPAC Agreement to Go Public on Nasdaq with Sustainable Biomaterials

Biomaterials company Bolt Threads has announced it will become a public company listed on the Nasdaq through a SPAC agreement that values the company (Bolt Threads) at $250 million.  A pioneer in biomaterials with two sustainable products in the market, Mylo™ and b-silk™, the company will merge with Golden Arrow Merger Corp. (Nasdaq: GAMC). After the closing of the deal, the combined company will be named “Bolt Projects Holdings, Inc.” and is expected to remain listed on Nasdaq under “BSLK”. Dan Widmaier, founder and CEO of Bolt Threads, will lead the new company.  Mylo bag ©Bolt Threads Distributing biomaterials According to the statement, the concurrent financing deals are expected to provide at least $35 million of gross proceeds to the company, including fully committed common stock PIPE of up …


plant based eggs sunny side up

© Yo Egg

Fairs & Events

Yo Egg to Debut Mini Plant-Based Sunny-Side-Up Eggs at Vkind Experience in LA

Vegan platform Vkind announces that the Israeli startup Yo Egg will debut mini plant-based sunny-side-up eggs at its forthcoming multicultural food event, the Vkind Experience (VKX). Yo Egg, also based in Southern California, developed the mini-eggs, especially for VKX. The new product will be featured in a custom dish curated by celebrity chef Chris Tucker for the event’s Asian room.  According to Vkind, VKX is a comprehensive plant-based food experience that will immerse participants in a multi-sensory world, offering a tour through eleven themed rooms covering 35,000 square feet at Magic Box in Los Angeles. The event is scheduled for the 11th and 12th of November, 2023. This event follows Vkind’s successful vegan cooking competition show Peeled, sponsored by VFC, the famous UK vegan fried …


BioVenture Nexus 2023, the premier event exploring innovation and networking in the fields of synthetic biology, bioprocessing, biotech, food tech, and AI.

© BioVenture Nexus

Fairs & Events

Industry Leaders, Visionary Entrepreneurs, Investors & Scientists to Speak on Biotech, Food Tech, and AI at BioVenture Nexus 2023

BioVenture Nexus 2023, the premier event exploring innovation and networking in the fields of synthetic biology, bioprocessing, biotech, food tech, and AI, is set to take place on the 5th and 6th of October at the JW Marriott Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles, California. The event, organized by conference organizer Rare and Infinite, aims to connect industry leaders, visionary startups, leading investors, and scientists reshaping food, ingredients, materials, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, therapies, and beyond using new technologies.  Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay, co-founder of US-cultivated meat company Orbillion, is on the organizing committee. According to Levesque, the conference, organized and focused on serving the community, has kept prices at a minimum to ensure people can access this unique event.  The conference  At BioVenture Nexus 2023, attendees can engage in dynamic discussions, gain valuable …


IKEA new plant-based options


Food Service

IKEA San Francisco Debuts New Plant-Based Dining Options

Following the news that IKEA plans to launch the PLANT HOTDOG, along with its many other plant-based targets, the new San Francisco location is set to feature some exciting plant-based dining options. The three-story store, which opened today, is the first retailer to open as part of a development project from Ingka Centres. It will also serve as the flagship US location for two new dining options – Swedish Bite and Swedish Deli.  Swedish Bite, located on the store’s street level, will offer pre-packaged, refrigerated meals with a focus on sustainable and plant-based options, with items like plant-based lasagna and vegan cinnamon buns along with a variety of hot and cold drinks. IKEA currently only operates one other Swedish Bite store at the Shinjuku location …


Cultivated meatballs

Image credit: Omeat

Cultivated Meat

Omeat Develops Slaughter-Free FBS Alternative From Bovine-Plasma

Omeat is a cultivated meat company established in Los Angeles, California, founded by world-renowned tissue engineer and former MIT and Harvard professor Dr. Ali Khademhosseini. The company aims to grow “delicious real meat” from animal cells but without the environmental impact of traditional farming. After years of working behind the scenes, Omeat revealed an alternative to fetal bovine serum (FBS) made with the bovine plasma of healthy cows. FBS is an ethically controversial and expensive cell nutrient media used by multiple industries.  In 2022, Omeat’s approach gained the interest of investors, raising $40 million from S2G Ventures, Google Ventures (GV), Bold Capital Partners, Tyson Ventures (the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, Inc.), Rethink Food, Trailhead Capital, and Cavallo Ventures.  Currently, Omeat is focused on cultivating beef. The company …


BAIA Honey Panna Cotta

©BAIA/ MeliBio

Company News

Bee-Free Honey MeliBio Wins Food Replacement Innovation Of The Year at AgTech Breakthrough Awards

MeliBio, the pioneer in bee-free honey, announces it has been awarded the Food Replacement Innovation Of The Year award in the 4th annual AgTech Breakthrough Awards program conducted by AgTech Breakthrough, The Oakland, California-based company was founded in 2020 and secured pre-seed funding in 2021 for its innovative product, going on to receive $5.7 million in a seed round in 2022 followed by an additional $2.2 million in investments later that year. Several partnerships have ensued: foodservice expansions include those with Eleven Madison, San Francisco’s BAIA restaurant as well as with Colorado’s leading plant-based burger chain Meta Burger. The product, according to Founder Darko Mandich, features plant-based ingredients that are naturally found in honey, making it the closest match to traditional bee-made honey on the …


New Culture's animal-free casein reaches milestone scale

Image credit: New Culture


New Culture is “Redefining the Boundaries of What’s Possible in Dairy” with Significant Upscaling of Animal-Free Mozzarella

California startup New Culture announces that it has successfully increased the production of its precision fermentation platform to a much larger scale and additionally has achieved a reduction of 80% in product cost. According to the company, it has managed to produce enough animal-free casein in a single run to make cheese for 25,000 pizzas. Founded in 2019, New Culture makes animal-free mozzarella by combining traditional cheese-making methods and casein proteins derived from precision fermentation. The company debuted its revolutionary cheese in June at Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles — where New Culture’s mozzarella will officially launch in 2024 before expanding to other pizzerias nationwide.  New Culture has received financial support from companies, including Kraft Heinz, ADM, and biotech giant CJ CheilJedang, to develop further its innovative …


Hey, Sunshine Kitchen

© Hey, Sunshine Kitchen

Food Service

Chefs With Celebrity Fans Including Zooey Deschanel Open Plant-Based Restaurant in LA

Sisters Jenny Engel and Heather Golden Ray have opened a fully plant-based fast-casual restaurant called Hey, Sunshine Kitchen in Culver City, Los Angeles County. Engel and Ray are trained chefs and cookbook authors with over 23 years of experience, who count celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel among their fans. They are the entrepreneurs behind vegan food company and cooking school Spork Foods, which they have run for over 15 years. With Hey, Sunshine Kitchen, the sisters aim to “revolutionize the plant-based food industry and transform the future of fast-casual restaurants”. The menu features a range of bowls, salads, tacos, sandwiches, kids’ meals, and desserts, including: Mediterranean Chickpea Bowl Backyard BBQ Tofu Salad Avocado Crunch Bowl Baja “Fish” Taco Kids’ mac & cheese and chickpea nuggets …


MycoWorks will open a production facility for luxury animal-free leather

© polrebaque

Leather Alternatives

MycoWorks Unveils World’s First Commercial Mycelium Facility for Luxury Animal-Free Leather

Biomaterials innovator MycoWorks announces it will open the world’s-first commercial-scale mycelium production plant to produce luxury animal-free leather on the 20th of September, 2023. Located in South Carolina, the 136,000-square-foot facility, employing over 350 people, will use MycoWorks patented Fine Mycelium technology to produce “millions of square feet” of Reishi  — a luxury leather alternative with the strength, durability, and hand feel of the finest animal leather but with a lower environmental impact. “Fine Mycelium platform is an unprecedented advancement in materials. Opening the doors on the first commercial-scale factory has MycoWorks poised to answer the luxury industry’s desire to craft objects with natural alternatives to leather,” says Kiersten Stead, MP at DCVC Bio and board member at MycoWorks.  Scalable manufacturing Since Reishi’s introduction, the company has partnered with major …


upside foods chicken on plate

© Upside Foods


UPSIDE Foods Bolsters Executive Team, Hires Former Twitter Executive as Chief Legal Officer

UPSIDE Foods (previously known as Memphis Meats), one of the two cultivated meat producers granted permission to sell their novel cell-cultivated chicken to consumers in the USA, today announces that Dr. Kevin Kayser, UPSIDE’s Senior Vice President of Research & Development (R&D), has been promoted to Chief Scientific Officer, and Sean Edgett, former General Counsel at Twitter, is appointed as Chief Legal Officer. Dr. Kayser previously led UPSIDE’s R&D efforts for almost five years. In the new role, he will be responsible for driving UPSIDE’s scientific strategy, overseeing all R&D efforts, and collaborating with academic and industry partners to advance the mission and economics of cultivated meat. His notable achievements include developing high-performance cell lines and cell feeds, including advancements in serum-free cell feed formulations, …


Abbot's Chopped Chick'n now available as a protein option at Tocaya Organica.

© Abbots Butcher

Food Service

Abbot’s Butcher Chopped Chick’n Added to Menus at All 20 Tocaya Modern Mexican Restaurants

Casual chain Tocaya Modern Mexican, a Mexican concept chain with over 20 locations in California and Arizona, launches plant-based Chopped Chick’n made by Abbot’s Butcher across all menus as a suggested protein pairing for many of Tocaya’s dishes as well as a protein option for any entrée. The product expansion means that Tocaya is the only restaurant to carry Abbot’s Butcher Chopped Chick’n in the Greater Los Angeles area, though the “Beef” and “Chorizo” are offered at independently owned restaurant menus including Chicas Tacos, Pizzanista, and Mohawk Bend. Tocaya’s chefs offer various suggestions for the plant protein such as the Tocaya Salad tossed with Chick’n and a spicy cilantro-lime dressing; Grilled Pineapple Al Pastor Bowl with Chick’n and cilantro-lime rice; and the Fajita Burrito with …