Marc Coloma, CEO and co-founder of Heura Foods at the Heura Lab

Marc Coloma, CEO and co-founder of Heura Foods at the Heura Lab, image supplied

Company News

Following €40M Investment, Upfield & Heura Reveal Plans to Fast-Track Innovation in Plant-Based Foods  

Last week, Spain’s Heura announced it had secured €40 million in what it claimed to be the largest plant-based financing round of 2023. The investors in the Series B round are to form a strategic coalition aiming to fast-track innovation in plant-based foods. Heura and Upfield today explain what this will entail. The work between Heura and Upfield aims to rapidly accelerate the protein transition towards a sustainable food system. Aside from the animal suffering and environmental damage caused by animal agriculture, one of the problems in our food system is its inefficiencies: plant-based crops feed more people while occupying less land. Today, plant-based food occupies only 23% of global agricultural land, yet provides 82% of our calories[1]. Data shows that cutting meat and dairy …

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The new butchery in Málaga

© El Vegans

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Vegan Butchery Chain El Vegans Opens New Location in Málaga, Spain

After expanding with stores in Catalonian cities such as Hospitalet, San Cugat, Sabadell, and Granollers, El Vegans, a vegan butcher’s shop from Barcelona, has opened its first branch in Málaga. El Vegans was founded in 2018 to help people transition to animal-friendly diets by offering plant-based and delicious alternatives to meat and cheese. Located in Huelín, El Vegans is also the first butcher of its kind in the southern city, offering traditional deli and butcher’s shop items in more sustainable versions: from escalopes, burger patties, various cheeses, and vegan blood sausage, to prepared dishes such as seitan cannelloni, soy meat skewers, croquettes, and fillings for fajitas or kebabs, sweets, and beverages. The products of this innovative store are mainly made in-house with natural ingredients, such …

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Heura closes Series B round, forming plant-based alliance

© Heura

Investments & Acquisitions

Heura Raises €40M, Forming Strategic Plant-Based Alliance With Upfield & More

Spanish plant meat leader Heura has raised €40 million in Series B funding, in what it claims is the largest plant-based funding round of 2023. Heura states the funding will drive the company to profitability and reinforce its position as a frontrunner in the industry. The brand is already a leader in the Spanish market and continues to expand across markets such as the UK, France, and Italy. The round saw participation from leading plant-based company Upfield, venture capital firm Unovis Asset Management, food tech fund the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, and impact investor Newtree Impact. According to Heura, these investors will form a strategic coalition, creating “one of the biggest plant-based alliances”. The companies will join a board that aims to increase Heura’s impact …

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KM ZERO Food Innovation Hub

© KM ZERO Food Innovation Hub

Startups, Accelerators & Incubators

The Flexitarian Project is Born, the Largest Collaborative Plant-Based Project Between Startups & Spanish Food Companies

The largest Spanish collaborative project between startups and large food companies has taken its first steps at the Open Innovation & Investment Day, the event that marks the closing of the initial phase of work of KM ZERO Venturing, the first Spanish open innovation program for startups in foodtech. Under the name of The Flexitarian Project, this pioneering initiative has been confirmed by its promoters, the companies Familia Martínez, CAPSA VIDA and Helados Estiu together with the startups Väcka, Wevo, Grin Grin Foods, Gimme Sabor, and Quevana, with the aim of bringing healthy, sustainable and accessible plant-based products to the market for the consumer, in addition to promoting the visibility of plant-based foods. The potential of collaborations to change the food industry Along with this …

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Egg Alternatives

Barcelona’s UOBO Launches Liquid Plant-Based Eggs for Food Service

Barcelona-based startup UOBO has launched liquid plant-based eggs for food service in a 1-litre bottled format for the Spanish market. The startup says that it has garnered impressive results since its launch on social media platforms, with its first post receiving over 250,000 views in less than 24 hours. In addition, UOBO claims to have already received over 40 requests from interested restaurants, caterers, and distributors. The company’s 100% vegetable whole-eggs are said to adapt seamlessly to traditional recipes while offering great taste. UOBO can be cooked into multiple dishes, including omelets, scrambled eggs, pastries, custard, and mayonnaise. Even though UOBO is described as a nutritious alternative to eggs, the company has not as yet revealed its ingredients on social media.  Making better eggs Founded …

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Isabel Jurado, Head of V-Label Spain

© V Label Spain

Interviews

V Label Spain: “Our Mission is For a Vegan to Fill His or Her Supermarket Basket in the Same Way as an Omnivore”

Isabel Jurado, Head of V-Label Spain, has been vegan for almost the last 30 years. As a spiritual person, Isabel always felt close to the subject of animal wellbeing and the protection of the environment, trying to live a life in line with her values. What is the Unión Vegetariana Española, and what does the organization stand for? UVE is the organisation advocating for the interest of the vegan and vegetarian movement in Spain. We act to raise awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet for the people, the planet and the animals. In addition, as a leading organisation, we manage the awarding of the V-Label in Spain. What successes do you like to look back on? Our purpose has been the same since …

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Image courtesy of Cocuus

Printed Technology

Spain’s Cocuus Plans to Produce 1,000 Tonnes of 3D Printed Plant-Based Bacon in 2024

Cocuus, a Spanish food tech company producing 3D-printed plant-based foods at scale, has revealed an ambitious goal for 2024: to make 1,000 tonnes of 3D-printed plant-based bacon. With the global alternative proteins market expected to reach a minimum value of $290 billion by 2035, according to BCG and the Blue Horizon Corporation, the company aims to accelerate the production of 3D-printed plant-based bacon for distribution in retail and other channels. Early investors Cargill and Big Idea Ventures will support the food tech’s mass production of plant-based food.  Last year, Cocuus and partner company Foody’s opened what they claimed as the world’s first industrial-scale facility for 3D-printed plant-based meat in Northern Spain, equipped with Cocuus’ advanced printing technology: only one machine can produce 250 kilos of plant-based …

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Vegan Asian street food RIP Foods shuts down its operations.

© RIP Foods

Company News

RIP Foods Closes its Doors After Four Years, “It Was David Vs Goliath”

Barcelona-based RIP Foods, a B2B plant-based meat startup for foodservice, announces its closure after four years of operations.  Kevin Forssmann, the company’s founder, told vegconomist that “despite creating one of the best plant-based meats in the market,” financial difficulties and the inability to secure further funding played a significant role in the company’s closure. He said, “Unfortunately, our space requires funding, and most investors in our space are after IP’s.” RIP (Rich in Plants) started in 2021, offering plant-based chicken mince developed with a fat encapsulation process claimed to mimic the taste and mouthfeel of meat. Initially targeting the HORECA channel supplying chicken mince, the startup switched to ready-to-cook products due to chef demand. In 2022, focusing on Asian street food, RIP introduced Spain’s first plant-based meat …

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3d bioprinted bacon launches at Carrefour

© Foodys

Investments & Finance

Spanish Food Tech Sector Raises €226M in 2023, Demonstrating Resilience Despite Global Economic Crisis

Spanish food tech accelerator Eatable Adventures has released the fourth edition of The State of Foodtech in Spain 2023, revealing the strength and resilience of the ecosystem at the national level.  Figures of the investment landscape during the year show that despite the global economic crisis and the sharp drop in investment worldwide, Spanish startups managed to secure €226 million in 2023. According to Eatable Adventures, this total represents a decrease of only 16% compared to the previous year — a moderate slowdown. For context, according to the data from last year’s Eatable Adventures study, the food tech investment in Spain reached €268 million in 2022, marking a growth of 9.3% compared to 2021. Among the leading national investors stands out Capsa Vida, which supported the food …

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Garden Gourmet Voie Gras Nestle

© Garden Gourmet

Products & Launches

Nestlé’s Plant-Based Foie Gras Alternative, Voie Gras, Returns With a New Recipe

Nestlé has announced the re-release of Voie Gras, its plant-based alternative to foie gras, under its Garden Gourmet brand. Available to consumers in Belgium, Spain, and The Netherlands, the product previously gained popularity during its seasonal launch last year in Spain and Switzerland. Produced at Nestlé’s R&D centre in Singen, Germany, the recipe has been revamped by product developers and contains miso paste, sea salt, and a soy base, aiming to achieve the authentic texture and flavour of traditional foie gras. Marjolijn Niggebrugge, European Business Head of Plant-Based Meal Solutions at Nestlé, comments, “Garden Gourmet stands for food where taste feels good. Voie Gras is our testament to offering great-tasting seasonal options that cater to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives, balancing taste with environmental …

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Libre Group shot

© Libre Foods

Fermentation

Libre Foods Wins €335K Grant to Pioneer Low-Cost Mycelium for Meat Alternatives

Libre Foods, a Spanish biotech based in Barcelona, has been awarded a €335,000 public R&D grant by Neotec (a program that supports technology-based companies) to develop a low-cost mycelium ingredient for meat alternatives.  Mycelium holds the potential to enhance the texture and nutrition in meat alternatives; however, scaling its production to lower the final product’s costs remains an industry challenge, argues Libre Foods. With the funds, the Spanish biotech plans to launch an advanced screening platform, integrating rapid imaging robotics and machine learning to discover and optimize fungi-based applications and accelerate product development. The platform could increase efficiency in R&D by more than 800 times, explains the company. Low-cost mycelium The technology’s first task will be developing a low-cost mycelium ingredient with a superior nutritional and …

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Cultzime builds intelligent bioreactors

© Cultzyme

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Cultzyme Builds Intelligent Bioreactors to Unlock the Potential of Biomanufacturing

Cultzyme is a Spanish bioprocessing solutions company founded last year to help biotech companies accelerate the development of cell-based foods, novel therapies, and materials. The company builds multipurpose bioreactors with an intelligent system that is said to streamline bioprocessing using the latest digital technology. Branded as Bioreactor Intelligent Operative Nanotechnology (BION), the advanced system integrates the latest hardware, AI, and cloud computing to control the biomanufacturing process and achieve consistent outcomes more efficiently and at lower costs. BION delivers scalable methods, real-time monitoring, advanced sensors, and automated control to optimize production processes. Additionally, the system provides precise control and data analytics to improve efficiency. The digital system also features innovative applications for precise temperature and maceration control and measurement to understand the internal evolution of the product, avoiding …

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Juicy Marbels secures a long term deal for its filet mignon at Waitrose

Image credit: Juicy Marbles FB

Food Service

Juicy Marbles Steak Arrives at Barcelona Hot-Spot Aiming to Begin an “Inclusive Plant-Based Revolution”

Amarre 69, one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Barcelona, ​​stands as a pioneer in the future of premium vegan meat with the “Juicy 69 Experience” event spotlighting the plant-based Juicy Marbles steak. The objective of the event is to enhance the recognition of Amarre 69 among the local public in Barcelona and promote the plant-based movement in the city in a unique and fun way. Taking place this Sunday, December 10th; from 1pm, the general public will be invited to enjoy the “Juicy 69 Experience”, entailing a free tasting of Juicy Marbles tapas and a musical presentation by Daniella Barbarito, providing a vibrant and festive atmosphere. The initiative will bring together different personalities, media and the general public on the occasion of the …

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hello plant foods' vegan foie gras served on a wooden board

© Hello Plant Foods

Company News

Hello Plant Foods Expects to Almost Quadruple YOY Sales of Vegan Foie Gras Hello Fuah! Over Xmas Season

Hello Plant Foods, a Spanish company specialising in the production of vegan foie gras, has announced that it expects to sell more than 110,000 units of its vegan Hello Fuah! during the coming Christmas season. This is almost four times the sales figures of last Christmas, when upon the launch of the product it managed to reach the figure of 30,000 units sold in one month. Throughout the Christmas campaign, Fuah! will be available in around 1,000 points of sale across various supermarket chains, distributors, specialised shops and restaurants. Following significant retail success in its domestic market, this year Hello Plant Foods has begun a process of international expansion and in recent months has managed to penetrate 3 key markets: Germany, France and Poland, and …

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A photo of Roots & Rolls' terrace

© Roots & Rolls

Gastronomy & Food Service

Vegan Eatery Roots & Rolls Wins Notable and Innovative Venue Award at Barcelona Restaurant Awards 2023

Among 30 finalists and selected by professional juries, Roots & Rolls, a vegan restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, specializing in Asian and Japanese cuisine, has won the Notable and Innovative Venue Award at the fourth edition of the Barcelona Restaurant Awards (Premio Barcelona Restauración). Organized by Barcelona City Council, this event recognizes and highlights the establishments that have contributed to the community by sharing values such as integration, quality of life, sustainability, innovation, and ability to adapt to changing times. The Notable and Innovative Award recognizes innovation, gastronomic creativity, and sustainability. Using the “infinite world” of veggies and spices, Roots & Rolls pioneers plant-based sushi in Barcelona. It was established by Sandra de Jong and Erik van Leeuwen in the Dreta l’Eixample district in 2018 to offer …

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Spanish startups Väcka and Libre Foods collaborate for The Veggie Burger Warriors Campaign

Image courtesy of Väcka

Food Service

Väcka and Libre Foods Launch Vegan Burger Campaign in 23 Cities Across Spain

Spanish plant-based startups Väcka and Libre Foods have joined forces to launch The Veggie Burger Warriors, a campaign offering 100% vegan burgers in restaurants across Spain from the 6th to the 12th of November. The campaign will showcase Väcka’s 100% plant-based cheddar and Libre Foods’ mushroom bacon as the top choices for burger toppings, providing “equal sensory experiences” to animal products. In this first edition, 23 cities across Spain with over 60 restaurants and nearly 100 points of sale will offer unique takes on vegan burgers, with some including limited editions. Additionally, the public will have the opportunity to choose “the best plant-based burger in Spain” by voting on-site or via a QR code for delivery orders. This initiative follows a successful campaign, The Veggie Pizza …

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3d bioprinted bacon launches at Carrefour

© Foodys

Printed Technology

Carrefour Spain Introduces “Clearly Superior” 3D Bio-Printed Plant-Based Bacon at Almost Same Price as Original

This May, two Spanish companies based in Navarra — Cocuus and Foodys — joined forces to market products made on an industrial scale from 3D bio-printed plant-based foods. This week, the first output of this alliance is already a reality: 100% vegetable bacon, which from this month will be on all Carrefour’s shelves in Spain. Together, Foodys and Cocuus are developing new plant-based and sustainable foods, along with the necessary technology to produce them and their subsequent industrialisation at scale and commercialisation. All under the umbrella of a technology they have called “Food to Data, Data to Food”, which was created with the aim of developing, producing and marketing healthy, tasty and sustainable food for this and future generations. The first of these advances to …

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nuveg chicken curry

© Nuveg

Products & Launches

Spain’s Nuveg to Launch on World Vegan Day with Huge Range of Sustainable Options

Nuveg, a Spanish brand of plant-based dehydrated food products, will debut on 1 November, to coincide with World Vegan Day. Interestingly, the news comes from Catalonia, which recently announced the establishment of Spain’s first Center for Innovation in Alternative Proteins (CiPA), to the tune of 7 million euros. Sustainability credentials At its Catalonian production plant, the brand states it is committed to sustainability with 100% compostable packaging, and explains that since the products are dehydrated they do not require refrigeration and have a shelf life of up to 18 months, which helps to avoid food waste. The brand will debut with a wide range of dishes such as Protein Broth; VeggieEgg; Vegan Crepe; Veggie Burger; Vegan Meatballs; Veggie Bolognese; and Vegan Chicken Curry. The meals …

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A mushroom burger

© Innomy

Protein

Catalonia Makes Historic €7M Investment in Alt Proteins Research Center

Catalonia’s Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, and the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology (IRTA) have revealed Spain’s first Center for Innovation in Alternative Proteins (CiPA). With €7 million in funding — believed to be one of the country’s most significant investments made in the sector — CiPA aims to become a leading hub in southern Europe for research and innovation, focusing on ingredients, food, and feed alternatives to animal proteins. Nonprofit think tank the Good Food Institute Europe (GFI) has praised the Catalan government’s historic investment in advancing alternative proteins and helping companies develop sustainable meat. Alex Holst, senior policy manager at GFI Europe, said: “This landmark announcement is a major step towards turning Catalonia into one of Spain’s leading hubs …

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Carolin Przibylla, innovation analyst at Fashion for Good and brothers Gómez Ortigoza

Carolin Przibylla, innovation analyst at Fashion for Good and brothers Gómez Ortigoza © Polybion

Leather Alternatives

Polybion and Fashion for Good Join Forces to Drive Circular Fashion with Bacterial Leather

Spanish biomaterial company Polybion has announced that the global platform for circular fashion, Fashion for Good, has become its official partner and investor.  The news comes after Polybion participated in the Fashion for Good 2023 Innovation Programme, an initiative that supports innovators and finds relevant industry partners to develop and launch products. Polybion pioneers microbial fermentation and food waste upcycling to grow the next generation of vegan materials. The company’s first development, Celium, is a premium alternative to animal leather and petroleum-derived synthetics.  Fashion for Good is building a global coalition of brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organizations, innovators, and funders to address the environmental impact of the fashion industry, from sourcing raw materials to retail.  “As our official partner and investor, their credibility and impact are unparalleled, and together, we are shaping …

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