Plant-based bacon alternative raises $40M21 Apr 2021
Atlast Food Co, which owns the mycelium-focused, plant-based protein brand MyEats, received $40M in a Series A round led by Viking Global Investors with participation from 40 North, AiiM Partners, Senator Investment Group, Stray Dog Capital and Footprint Coalition Ventures. Several CPG companies also participated in the round, including Applegate, Stonyfield and Whole Foods.
The startup said it would use its funding to support the development and scaling of its technology and team to produce more bacon. To scale, the company will construct the largest mycelium production facility in the U.S. that will include an aerial mycelium farm.
Since last November, MyEats has had its first product, MyBacon, available on the market, but is now looking to supply its plant-based bacon at commercial scale, according to a press release. The product has generated “immense growth” for the company due to its convincing, meat-like flavor and cooking behavior. MyBacon is also clean label, using only six ingredients: mushroom mycelium, refined coconut oil, cane sugar, salt, smoky flavors and beet juice.
"I've been stocking MyEats' MyBacon™ strips since November 2020 and it continues to sell out every week, usually in 48 hours. The product tastes so much like bacon we decided to sell it alongside the real thing rather than with the other plant-based ground meats," said Mo Durr, Meat Department Manager, Honest Weight Food Co-op, an Albany, NY-based grocer and the first retailer to stock MyBacon strips.
While there are many directions that this company can invest in the plant-based space, it is working on developing whole cuts of plant-based meat– a feat that few meat alternative companies have succeeded in accomplishing.
Most plant-based meats are ground, extruded analogs of their animal counterparts, and few offer the experience, texture and flavor profile of whole-cut meats. However, since Atlast is using mycelium as its primary base for plant protein analogs, the company says it can more closely mimic whole cut animal protein thanks to the manner in which mycelium fibers knit together to form tissue that is close to the texture of animal tissue.
Although mycelium remains a novel protein base for meat alternatives, it is not so rare that Atlast Food does not have competition. Meati is another startup focused on replicating the amino acid profile of beef through mycelium to generate a convincing meat analog. After raising $28 million last fall, the company said it would work toward launching its products in retail stores this year.
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