The alternative meat company seeks to develop and supply whole cut plant-based meat to partners around the globe, including directly to consumers through its MyEats brand
Atlast Food Co., a mycelium food company growing the future of plant-based meats, has raised $40 million in its Series A funding round. The US-based company plans to develop and supply whole cut plant-based meat to partners around the globe, including directly to consumers through its own brand MyEats.
Viking Global Investors led the round with participation from 40 North, AiiM Partners, Senator Investment Group, Stray Dog Capital, Footprint Coalition Ventures, and others.
Stephen McDonnell, Founder of Applegate Farms, said: “I’ve spent the last thirty years working to bring sustainable meat to consumers around the nation. The Atlast team is advancing that mission for the 21st century to give today’s brands and consumers new plant-based alternatives that mimic the texture and flavour of whole cut meats.”
Also joining the round were the leaders and founders of food and CPG companies, including Applegate, Stonyfield, and Whole Foods.
“This investment will allow us to meet the incredible demand we’ve felt for our product,” said Stephen Lomnes, president of Atlast Food Co. “We are building the largest mycelium production facility in the US to provide consumers nationwide with a tastier alternative to their favourite animal proteins.”
The majority of meat sold today — like bacon, chicken breast, and steak — is considered “whole cut,” yet most plant-based meats are ground, extruded analogues of their animal counterparts and few offer the experience, texture and flavour profile of whole-cut meats.
Atlast is partnering with the pioneers of mycelium technology, Ecovative, to expand its current production capacity and supply partners throughout the CPG, food service and grocery industries with plant-based meats that can be flavoured to give consumers an uncompromised experience.
Aerial mycelium farm
Atlast said this investment will speed up both the discovery and production process for Atlast and MyEats by supporting the construction of the world’s largest aerial mycelium farm.
Lisa Feria, chief executive of Stray Dog Capital, said: “Atlast is creating a new category of plant-based foods by offering whole cut options. Mycelium, Atlast’s unique ingredient, is nutritious, versatile, and scalable — consumers should get ready to see a lot more mycelium in their stores and on their plates.”
While consumer adoption of plant-based alternatives has skyrocketed, none of the existing products have successfully recreated the multi-sensory experience of eating a whole cut of meat.
Current offerings in the vegan and vegetarian market have failed to replicate the caramelised, rich brown crust from a proper sear, the tender juicy centre, and the mouthfeel of fatty and savoury flavours that come when chewing.
The first products of Atlast’s MyEats brand is a plant-based bacon that, according to the company, offers all the taste, crunch and sizzle of pork bacon, but is made from just six ingredients.
“I’ve been stocking MyEats’ MyBacon strips since November 2020 and it continues to sell out every week, usually in 48 hours,” said Mo Durr, meat department manager at Honest Weight Food Co-op, an Albany, NY-based grocer and the first retailer to stock MyBacon strips.
Durr added: “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.”
Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr., founder of FootPrint Coalition Ventures said Atlast has created a six-ingredient solution for enjoying one without harming the other. “Atlast has a great team, a strong business plan and the full (undying) support of my Kunekune pigs, Ladybug and Pops.”
Downey Jr. launched FootPrint Coalition Ventures in January to accelerate groundbreaking technologies that are addressing the world’s largest environmental challenges. Atlast is its second investment in the foodtech space, after French insect protein companyŸnsect.
Today’s announcement comes after a year of immense growth for Atlast. The company launched its first product on store shelves in November last year, and is already working with major brands to supply its plant-based bacon product at a commercial scale.
Date published: 19 April 2021