MyForest Foods, maker of mycelium pork-free whole-cut bacon alternative MyBacon, has announced it has secured $15 million in Series A-2 funding and has appointed a new CEO.
MyForest Foods raised the funds from Ecovative, the mushroom packaging parent company it spun out of in 2020. Ecovative recently raised a series E funding round totaling $30 million and led by Viking Global Investors.
MyForest, formerly known as Atlast Food Co, closed a $ 40 million Series A round in 2021 which famously included Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr’s Footprint Coalition Ventures. In April 2022, the startup secured a $15 million venture loan from Connecticut’s Horizon Technology Finance Corporation which it said was used to finance further production facility built-outs.
Expanding horizons with series A-2 funding
MyForest Foods says it will use the funding to invest in its retail expansion and enhance its food service reach across the Eastern Seaboard, including New York City. MyBacon is currently on the shelves of over 100 retail locations throughout the Northeast including at multiple Fairway Market and Gourmet Garage store locations throughout Manhattan. As MyForest Foods continues to expand its market presence, it aims to meet the rising consumer demand for sustainable, plant-based alternatives, making a positive impact on the future of food.
The company’s bacon is made using mycelium, the root-like structure of fungi that MyForest Foods treats using solid-state fermentation process that results in a texture very similar to pork meat. By leveraging this technology, the company says it can address the growing challenges of global food production, including environmental sustainability, resource scarcity, and animal welfare.
New CEO appointment: food industry veteran joins the team
In tandem with the funding announcement, MyForest Foods has appointed food industry veteran Greg Shewchuk as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Shewchuk was the CEO of the food allergy prevention company SpoonfulONE, which Nestlé acquired in late 2022, and has had senior leadership positions at Campbell Soup Company, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Mondelēz International, Cadburys Schweppes PLC, and Unilever.
“MyForest Foods was founded by a team of innovators with a passion for growing mycelium, an insight into how to grow whole-cut meats, and a vision to eliminate factory farming. Having proved the viability and consumer demand for our flagship MyBacon product, now is the optimal time to bring on an experienced industry leader as we move to commercial scale,” said Eben Bayer, MyForest Foods’ Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board in a statement.
“I’m thrilled to bring Greg on board and leverage his savvy marketing and consumer packaged goods experience. With his expertise, our team will expand access to our delicious MyBacon, launch new whole cuts, and create a healthier, tastier, more sustainable world.”
Shewchuk said of the news: “MyForest Foods has impressed me with its high-quality, delicious meatless products that support consumers’ desire for more eco-conscious food choices. There’s a reason why MyBacon was recognized by TIME and Fast Company as one of the most innovative food inventions on the market today.”
“With this new funding and renewed commitment from our investors, my goal is to double down on our marketing and sales functions to take the MyForest Foods brand to the next level.”
New products on the horizon
MyForest is planning for the launch of its second product, dubbed MyJerky, a beef jerky analogue made with its mycelium, albeit with different flavorings than MyBacon.
MyForest produces its mycelium slabs in a production facility in New York State. Unlike competitors such as Meati Foods who grow their mycelium in steel fermentation tanks, Bayer told AgFunder MyForest grows its slabs on “beds of pre-treated hardwood chips”.