Motif FoodWorks Secures US$226M To Scale & Commercialise Its Plant-Based Protein Tech

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Ingredient innovation startup Motif FoodWorks has raised US$226 million in a Series B funding round to expand its R&D capabilities and make make plant-based food better tasting and more nutritious. Agfunder News (AFN) announced the news earlier today.

Boston-based Motif FoodWorks funding round was jointly led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP), and funds and accounts were managed by BlackRock.

Other participating investors include AiiM Partners, Wittington Ventures, Rethink Food, Rage Capital, and Rellevant Partners alongside existing investors like Breakthrough Energy Ventures, CPT Capital, General Atlantic, Louis Dreyfus Company, and Viking Global.

Founded in 2018, the food biotech startup focuses on brewing proteins, nutrients and ingredient solutions for plant-based foods. Solutions include meat alternatives with ground/mince applications, snacks, dairy alternatives including milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream as well as plant-based innovation to enhance taste and nutrition in existing foods as well as develop new ones.

Boston-based Motif will use this new funding to increase its R&D capabilities, scale and commercialize its plant-based protein tech, and will look to hire new talent.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, senior managing director of TIP, Olivia Steedman said: “Making plant-based foods taste great will increase the global appetite for this sector – and shape a better future for our planet in the process. As people increasingly look to meat and dairy alternatives, Motif offers breakthrough solutions powered by leading technology, deep scientific expertise and a visionary management team.”

Making plant-based foods taste great will increase the global appetite for this sector – and shape a better future for our planet in the process

Olivia Steedman, senior managing director of TIP

The company claims it has a new food science and design approach in place, along with food technologies that include fermentation and material science innovations.

According to a recent report, two out of three Americans (67%) mentioned that they would opt for more plant-based foods in their diet and limit meat consumption provided the plant-based ones taste better than they do at the moment.

With support from our investors, we’re advancing the understanding of food science and design to make plant-based foods better tasting, more nutritious and so desirable that people actually crave them

CEO of Motif FoodWorks, Jonathan McIntyre

CEO of Motif FoodWorks, Jonathan McIntyre said of the news: “Plant-based foods have the potential to unlock enormous benefits for people and the planet, but that will only happen if they live up to, or even exceed, what consumers expect from animal-based counterparts. With support from our investors, we’re advancing the understanding of food science and design to make plant-based foods better tasting, more nutritious and so desirable that people actually crave them.”

In a separate AFN interview, the chief commercial officer of Motif, Michele Fite said: “We are trying to take things like soy, pea protein, or nuts, and mask or modify those barnyard flavors that are in the smells that are leftover from the grains, legumes, and beans.”

“It’s just hard to work with those things – you get a mushy texture and off-notes in the flavor. Consumers will tell you that they are all in on this stuff and believe in how they can improve health and create more sustainability. But it has got to taste great and have a better texture.” Fite continued.

To date, Motif FoodWorks has raised a total of US$345 million. The company has set up a new 10,600 sq. ft. office and lab space in Boston itself and has acquired licensing partnerships with the University of Guelph and Coasun to develop melting and stretching components in plant-based cheeses and healthier fat substitutes for plant-based meats.


Lead image courtesy of Motif FoodWorks.

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