The company makes vegan chicken wings which include the skin, muscle and bone

Plant-based meats company Sundial Foods has raised a $4 million seed round from Nestlé, Food Labs, Clear Current Capital and SOSV/IndieBio.

Albany, California-based Sundial Foods makes vegan chicken wings which include the skin, muscle and bone, and the product is scheduled to be available in US restaurants next spring. Sundial stated that its technology allows for the simulation of a whole cut of meat, with a fibrous meat texture, including muscle, and plant-based skin and bone. The product contains eight easy-to-recognise ingredients such as water, chickpeas and sunflower oil and no artificial flavours or synthetic chemicals. The wings also contain more fibre and less saturated fat than chicken but approximately the same amount of protein.

Sundial Foods added it will use the new funding to expand headcount and begin production for its US launch at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Po Bronson, general partner at SOSV and managing director of IndieBio, said: “Making a super tasty alt-chicken wing is only half of it. During the IndieBio programme, the Sundial team really focused on automating their production and manufacturing method, where they had several breakthroughs. They’ll make it to market faster than any IndieBio company in history.”

Sundial co-founder Jessica Schwabach commented: “Our goal is to make meats that replace the butcher, so our product can be enjoyed as a centre-of-plate experience. We want to give consumers – whether vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, or meat-eating – a plant-based meat-eating experience that’s interesting, craveable, and versatile.”

Co-founders Siwen Deng and Schwabach met in 2019 in class at University of California, Berkeley’s alternative meats programme where they became interested in the plant-based space. Last year, they participated in the Nestlé R&D accelerator in Lausanne, Switzerland, where they took the formula for their chicken from bench scale testing to pilot production. And late last year, Sundial co-branded a product with Nestlé’s plant-based food brand Garden Gourmet and ran a test launch in more than 40 retail outlets across Switzerland.

Sundial has raised a total of $4.25 million to date.

Date published: 22 November 2021

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