Investors Bet Millions on Plant-based Start-upsAalo Mukherjee
Species extinction and environmental degradation are no more nightmares but are realities that we are dealing with everyday. Our increasing demands are taking a toll on nature. For instance, Food Industry- The population of our planet is estimated to be 10 Billion by the end of 2050. Protein’s demand will increase and meeting this demand with the current protein supply chain will be a challenge. A recent study by Oxford University suggests that “the public health and environmental expenses associated with the increased demand of animal products could be upto $1.6 trillion globally by 2050”. This challenge has brought with it a compelling opportunity for the forward-looking investors- An opportunity to invest in the innovative food technologies that have the potential to end the detrimental effects on livestock.
Even the consumers’ preferences have started shifting- from meat-based diets to non-meat proteins and investors are trying to stay relevant with consumers. This makes it the best time for investors to support the burgeoning market of sustainable protein supply chains.
Several exciting start-ups have created plant-based alternatives to chicken, beef and even eggs and they have been found to taste great. Investors are betting millions of dollars in such companies.
Silicon Valley based Impossible Foods, working on new generation of meat and cheese made entirely of plants has raised a whopping $198.5 Million with the most recent funding of $16.5 Million raised in the month of May this year. Kite Hill, a North California based company that makes artisanal nut milk cheeses and yogurts closed an $18 Million fundraising round with lead investment from General Mills. California based Beyond Meat developing plant-based burgers raised $17 Million from Tyson Foods in the month of October this year. Food-tech start-up Ripple Foods that makes plant-based milk with as much protein in milk and half the sugar, raised $30 Million funds with lead investment from Google Ventures in the month of July this year. Hampton Creek, best-known for its egg-free condiment- Just Mayo, raised $90 Million from Horizon Ventures and Khosla Ventures in 2014. Other plant-based start-ups like Muufri, Thrive Market, REBBL and Back to the Roots have successfully closed fundraising rounds in the last few years.
Among those who are contributing to the growth of the plant based start-ups engaged in replacing meat with healthier and environment-friendly alternatives are entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Vishal Vasishth (Obvious Ventures) and venture capitals including General Mills, Horizon Ventures, Tyson Foods, Google Ventures and Powerplant Ventures.
Products in the plant-based protein industry have the ability to not only address the current environment and resource consumption issues but also to lead the world towards a healthier and cleaner protein supply chain. The market is growing with more venture capitalists continuing to invest.