Californian vegan bacon startup Hooray Foods has announced the completion of a $2.7 million seed extension round. The company says the funding will allow for scaled production of its flagship animal-free rashers in order to meet increasing demand throughout the U.S.and Canada. The investment will also be used to improve the existing recipe.
Earlier this year, Hooray raised $2 million in a seed round for product development and facilities improvements. The latest extension brings total funding to $6.7 million, with existing and new product R&D a priority.
Meeting demand for alt-meat
Hooray’s funding top-up comes via existing investors Evolution VC Partners, Gaingels and Sad Hill Angels, plus new strategic partner David Hoffmann and Lyra Growth Partners. Hoffmann is the former CEO of Dunkin, the group behind global QSR chain Dunkin’ Donuts, and plans to offer more than just capital.
“After witnessing the national appeal of meat alternatives in my previous roles at high-profile fast food brands, I am confident Hooray’s plant-based bacon will become a must-have on the menus at thousands of quick-service restaurants and sit-down establishments,” he said in a statement.
Since launching a year ago, Hooray has sold more than two million strips of its plant-based bacon. It has secured a presence in Whole Foods Market stores and recently entered the Canadian market. Despite the popularity of Hooray bacon as it stands, the company is seeking to make improvements to the recipe, to create a v2 version for launch in 2022. This will happen alongside new product lines using Hooray’s proprietary emulsion-forming food tech.
“Changing what we eat, specifically reducing consumption of animal proteins, is the easiest step anyone can take to help slow climate change. Hooray is here to make this transition joyful and delicious,” said Hooray Foods founder Sri Artham. “We’re so grateful to have investor support to ensure consumers have access to plant-based options that are just as good as the real thing.”
The quest for perfect plant-based bacon
Alongside dairy, bacon is frequently cited as a product that meat-eaters cannot sacrifice, despite the World Health Organization classifying nitrite-containing processed meats as Type 1 carcinogens, meaning they are known to cause cancer. According to data compiled by Statista based on U.S. census data, 268.04 million Americans consumed bacon in 2020—more than 80 percent of the national population.
In a bid to welcome new consumers to the environmentally beneficial plant-based diet, manufacturers such as Hooray Foods are using cutting-edge food tech. While Hooray is developing emulsion-forming tech, others in the industry are seeking realistic rashers through alternative means.
Atlast Food Co. already has MyBacon, a mycelium-based pork alternative, in the market. Developed to be a whole cut, marbled with fat streaks, the alt-meat is grown in a matter of days and cooks like regular pork. Mission Barns is pushing the envelope too, using cultivated pork fat in its recipe to recreate an authentically meaty texture.
Big names in the plant-based sector have revealed a desire to get closer to the ultimate goal of a perfect animal-free bacon. Beyond Meat is one of them, having cited bacon as being the “holy grail” of vegan products.
All images courtesy of Hooray Foods.