Indonesian homegrown plant-based startup Green Rebel Foods (formerly known as Green Butcher) has announced that it will be debuting its vegan-friendly beef across Starbucks Indonesia this month. The startup, which was founded by the creators of Burgreens, the country’s largest plant-based chain, also revealed the closing of its seed round to expand its range of mushrooms, chickpeas, soy protein and seitan-based meat alternatives and support its retail launch.
Announced today (February 1), Green Butcher has partnered up with coffee giant Starbucks Indonesia, which is operated by retail conglomerate PT Mitra Adiperkasa, to roll out its plant-based beef product across more than 50 locations in Greater Jakarta and Bali this month. The startup also said that it has closed its seed funding round for an undisclosed amount for its range of plant-based meat products, which are made using mushrooms, GMO-free soy protein, chickpeas, and seitan.
The seed round was led by Unovis Asset Management and Teja Ventures, with participation from impact-focused venture capital SAVEarth Fund, Phi Trust and C4D. A number of alternative protein angel investors also joined the round, including Elisa Khong, Simon Newstead and Michal Klar.
“This fresh funding will help us expand the R&D team, scale up production, and launch into mainstream retailers by Q2 2021,” commented Helga Angelina, co-founder and CEO of Green Butcher.
The deal with Starbucks Indonesia, which marks the startup’s foodservice debut, will see the chain use Green Butcher’s beefless chunks in three new plant-based menu items, including the plant-based sloppy joe sandwich, wellington pocket and focaccia bread. It comes after the coffee behemoth launched several partnerships with plant-based startups to expand its vegan and vegetarian options across its key markets in Asia in response to shifting consumer appetites.
This fresh funding will help us expand the R&D team, scale up production, and launch into mainstream retailers by Q2 2021.Helga Angelina, Co-Founder & CEO, Green Butcher
But while Starbucks has so far primarily teamed up with U.S. food techs, the latest collaboration is one with a homegrown brand in Indonesia. Founded by the creators of Burgreens, the largest plant-based restaurant chain in Indonesia, Green Butcher is the country’s first plant-based meat alternative brand and is among the growing cohort of Asian food techs that are developing vegan analogues that cater to local tastes and cuisines.
Speaking to Green Queen Media about Green Butcher’s partnership with Starbucks, angel investor Michal Klar underlined the choice of a local partner: “It is great to see Starbucks choosing to partner with an Indonesian plant-based meat startup. It will help to support local alt protein ecosystem, but also ensure its plant-based options are more affordable and cater better to Indonesian tastes.”
Apart from beefless chunks, Green Butcher’s current line-up of vegan ready-to-cook alternatives includes chick’n satay, chick’n katsu, chik’n karaage, beefless rendang, burger patties, and shroom balls.
We are excited to be the pioneering plant-based start-up that focuses on the unique culinary experience of Indonesian & South East Asian cuisines.Max Mandias, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Green Butcher
So far, the only other homegrown Asian plant-based brand that has landed on the global coffee chain’s menu is OmniPork, the vegan pork mince analogue developed by the food tech arm of Hong Kong-based group Green Monday, which rolled out across mainland China Starbucks locations nationwide last year.
Given Asia’s rising tastes for plant based food, we see Green Butcher’s potential to be the leading consumer brand for plant based food tailored to the Asian palette and with significant cost and supply chain advantages.Virginia Tan, Founding Partner, Teja Ventures
“We are excited to be the pioneering plant-based start-up that focuses on the unique culinary experience of Indonesian & South East Asian cuisines,” said Green Butcher’s co-founder and chief innovation officer Max Mandias. “By recreating many of the locals’ most-loved comfort foods entirely from plants, combined with the rapid rise of flexitarians – our products will undoubtedly be spicing things up in Indonesia, the region, and beyond.”
Virginia Tan, founding partner of lead investor Teja Ventures added that as Asia’s demand for plant-based proteins continues to grow, startups based in the region will have an edge in catering to the specific preferences of Asian consumers, while Kim Odhner, Managing Director of Unovis Asset Management, which manages the New Crop Alternative Protein funds, said the deal was a strong fit for the fund: “Helga Angelina and the entire team have made impressive progress over the past year, and Unovis aims to leverage its unique experience and industry position to help launch this innovative plant-based powerhouse to a global audience.”
“Given Asia’s rising tastes for plant based food, we see Green Butcher’s potential to be the leading consumer brand for plant based food tailored to the Asian palette and with significant cost and supply chain advantages,” Tan explained.
The startup is also committed to championing homegrown ingredients, noting that what further sets their products apart from other players in the increasingly competitive plant-based meat space is their dedication to local sourcing.
While noting that all vegan meat alternatives are far less resource-intensive than their animal-based counterparts, Green Butcher’s range uses a number of domestic ingredients such as Balinese sea salt, coconut oil from Riau and turmeric, galangal and lemongrass from Java – which reduces transport emissions while supporting small businesses and communities locally.
All images courtesy of Green Butcher.