US startup Nature’s Fynd, which has developed a plant-based meat alternative, has just closed a US$350 million funding round led by Japanese investment company SoftBank.
Nature’s Fynd uses a unique nutritional fungi protein produced by a fermentation technology that requires just a fraction of the land, water and energy required by traditional agriculture to produce.
The company has already built a modern production plant in Chicago’s historic Union Stockyards packed with robotics and automation designed to allow it to scale up, something the funding round will allow this year. The first Fy-based meatless and dairy-free products will go on sale in selected retailers later this year before a wider global launch.
“Next year, we will bring our branded Fy-based foods to consumers in the US, expand to new geographies with a special focus on Asia where there is substantial demand and need for sustainable protein and create multiple brand-aligned partnerships for retail, quick-serve restaurants, and emerging high-growth channels,” said Thomas Jonas, CEO and co-founder of Nature’s Fynd.
Earlier this year, the company launched Fy Breakfast Bundle with Original Meatless Breakfast Patties and Dairy-free Cream Cheese, which sold out in 24 hours. Jonas said that proved to the company that it could satisfy consumer expectations for meat and dairy alternatives with no tradeoffs.
“We know consumers today expect great tasting meat and dairy alternatives without compromising on health or sustainability. And Fy – our natural, complete vegan protein – delivers on all fronts: amazing taste and texture while being healthier for people and gentler on the planet than traditional proteins,” he said.
The new investment round takes total financing to more than $500 million to date. The funds will be deployed on expanding its production capacity, delivering new partnerships, laying the foundation for its global reach, and expanding its product portfolio “from breakfast to dinner and everything in between”.
“We want to create amazing foods that nourish people while nurturing the planet.”
Nature’s Fynd will face strong competition when it arrives in Asia, however the market is large and apparently greedy for plant-based foods. One recent debutant in the region is plant-based chicken alternative Tindle.