In another record-breaking turn, Eat Just, the San Francisco-based food tech company whose plant-based mung bean alternative has sold 100 million vegan eggs across the globe including in mainland China, where it just debuted a JUST egg version of jianbing pancakes with street vendors in Shanghai, has just closed a US$170 million round for its newly separate GOOD Meat subsidiary from funds managed by UBS O’Connor, K3 Ventures and Graphene Ventures among others.
GOOD Meat made history as the world’s first cellular agriculture-produced meat to be sold commercially back in December last year, when the Singapore government gave Eat Just the go ahead, making the latter the first company ever to get regulatory approval for cell-cultured protein and the first to commercialise cell-based meat at the island nation’s renowned 1880 restaurant. They company grabbed global headlines again on Earth Day (April 22), with their partnership with food delivery player foodpanda, marking the first time cell-based meat was available for delivery anywhere in the world.
The new injection of capital will be used to ” increase capacity and accelerate research and development for high-quality, real meat without slaughter” according to a press release seen by Green Queen.
The announcement also included another major first: JW Marriott Singapore South Beach’s famed Madame Fan restaurant will replace all the chicken items on their menu with three new dishes made with GOOD MEAT’s cultured chicken an Asian-inspired Chicken Salad, Chicken Dumplings and a Chicken & Rice Stir-Fry. The hotel’s Director of Food & Beverage and Culinary Marco Pedrelli called it “the perfect collaboration to support our ‘Source Responsibly’ efforts whilst we continue to deliver exceptional culinary experiences”.
Speaking about the news, Eat Just co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said in a statement: “This investment, along with the historic decision by JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, points to what’s ahead: meat without killing animals will replace conventional meat at some point in our lifetimes. The faster we make that happen, the healthier our planet will be.”
Nabil Borhanu, founder and managing partner at Graphene Ventures, added: “This deal is changing the future in terms of how humanity is fed. Eat Just has led and dominated the plant-based egg category with its JUST Egg products, and with all the efforts made, we’re confident that GOOD Meat will lead the cultured meat category starting with the $193 billion chicken market. For us, this is not only about meat, it’s about fueling the growth of planet-friendly food alternatives that can feed a rapidly changing world.”
Eat Just recently raised US$200 million in March of this year to fuel global growth, making for a total capital injection of US$370 million to date, which tops Upside Foods’ (previously Memphis Meat) 12-month funding record. When it incorporated in 2015, UPSIDE made history as the world’s first cell-based meat company; last week the company said it is ready to launch its own cell-cultured chicken by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval.
Tetrick has made no secret about the fact that he wants to take Eat Just public, and in an August 2020 interview with Reuters he predicted an IPO could be on the cards for this year.
While Eat Just recently shared that it would be launching its vegan egg in Europe this year, it’s clear that Asia is a key part of their roadmap, with Eat Just teaming up with a Proterra-led consortium to build a Singaporean production plant, marking their first in the region.
Recent studies around the appetite for cell-based meat prove promising. In March, an Eat Just poll showed that 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers would swap cell-based chicken for traditional meat, while an Aleph Farm commissioned study published in the peer-reviewed journal Foods shared that U.S. and U.K. consumers believed cell-based meat would make up at least 40% of their future total meat consumption.
Lead image courtesy of Eat Just.