The Sao Paulo-based start-up will use the fresh capital to complete an expansion of its production plant
Co-founder Bruno Fonseca

The New, one of Brazil’s fastest-growing plant-based meat brands, has secured funding from the alternative protein fund Lever VC and Paulo Veras, founder and chief executive of 99, Brazil’s first tech unicorn.

The fresh capital injection will be used to complete expansion of a 1,000 square metre production facility amid strong demand for the company’s products at national and regional retailers.

Plant-based triathlete and entrepreneur Bruno Fonseca co-founded the company alongside Mariana Makaie and Nessim Abadi in Sao Paulo in 2019. Fonseca serves as its chief executive.

The New Butchers – as the brand reads in marketing material – produces plant-based salmon, cod, chicken, and beef products. The range is non-GMO and free of all common allergens including soy and gluten.

The company has secured shelf space in more than 700 points of sale in its first 18 months of operation, including placement at Brazil’s two largest retail chains Pao de Acucar and CarreFour.

“Since 2017 we have been researching and developing our products with the goal of offering something more delicious and cleaner than everything else in the Brazilian market today,” said Fonseca. “For example, we do not use hydrogenated palm fat, choosing instead to use natural coconut fat, which when combined with pea protein has an incredible flavour.”

That flavour has caught the attention of consumers seeking a healthier and more sustainable diet, as well as leading supermarket chains. Brazilian retail leader Pão de Açucar reported that plant-based burgers accounted for 30% of all hamburger sales at its stores last year.

New investors

“We are incredibly excited to be partnered with The New,” said Nick Cooney, managing partner at Lever VC. “When we carried out consumer taste panels of plant-based meat brands in Brazil, over 90% liked The New’s products best, and by a very wide margin.

The New Fish is a range of salmon derived from peas, paprika extract and rich in omega-3

“We love their products, their team, their commitment to R&D and continuous improvement, and their fast sales growth. Plant-based meat is beginning to boom in Latin America, and we think The New will be a clear category leader.”

For angel investor Paulo Veras, who founded and ran Brazil’s first tech unicorn, the ride-hailing app 99, The New is where food meets tech. “The New is spearheading the food revolution,” he said. “Through its healthy and tasty plant-based meat alternatives, it addresses some of humanity’s biggest challenges such as food, health and climate change.”

The New’s product line consists of The New Chicken 2.0, a pea protein-based product that is the first plant-based chicken fillet in the Brazilian market; The New Burger, a classic beef-style burger made with pea protein; and The New Fish, the first salmon derived from peas along with natural paprika extract, and rich in omega-3.

Also in the product line-up are newcomers cod fillet and cod dumplings based on a pea protein and jackfruit mix that mimics the fibres of fish meat.

Date published: 16 March 2021

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