Starfield Food Science & Technology, a Chinese food tech developing plant-based meat alternatives, has recently announced the completion of its Series A funding round ahead of a roll out of its products across more than 20 foodservice chains in the country. The capital will be used to set up Starfield’s research and development facility in Shenzhen in anticipation of more product launches in the future to meet China’s rising consumer demand for plant-based meat.
Starfield’s Series A funding round was led by a group of Chinese investors, including Sky9 Capital, Matrix Partners China and Joy Capital. It comes less than 6 months after the Shenzhen-based startup received angel investments from early stage food tech investment firm New Crop Capital and China-focused impact investor Dao Foods International.
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Shenzhen, China, Starfield is a next-generation food tech that has created a ground meat product using seaweed protein.
According to the company, the latest round of financing makes Starfield the fastest-growing plant-based venture and brand in China so far. While homegrown plant-based food techs have emerged in recent years, Starfield is currently considered the only next-generation alternative meat venture that operates its own R&D and manufacturing facility.
It says it plans on using a portion of the capital injection to build its own formula R&D laboratory in Shenzhen. Starfield’s products, which include more than 20 plant-based meats, from burger patties to mince, will continue to be manufactured and packed in Hongchang, a facility owned by Starfield’s founding shareholders CP Group and Sunnong Development.
Starfield also announced that it has forged partnerships with more than 20 foodservice chains nationwide, after its initial trial launches with a number of major restaurants earlier this year. Among some of the chains that plan to introduce new plant-based dishes made using Starfield’s meat alternatives include Hey Tea(喜茶), Gaga Café (gaga 鲜语), Wenheyou (文和友), and Kwei Mun Lung (桂满陇). Together, more than 2,600 restaurant outlets in China will be serving Starfield dishes by October this year.
As a domestic Chinese plant-based meat company, Starfield deeply understands the culinary diversity of Chinese cuisine and is continuously working closely with numerous restaurant partners to understand what new plant-based products are needed and would be successful.Albert Tseng, Co-Founder of Dao Foods International
Beyond foodservice, the Shenzhen food tech has plans to launch co-branded retail products with supermarket chains in order to meet Chinese consumer demand for more plant-based products tailored to Chinese cooking. In a statement, the brand says that it has so far been launching an astonishing four new products every month in order to “better meet the more diversified Chinese cuisine application needs” of local consumers.
Speaking to Green Queen exclusively, Albert Tseng, co-founder of Dao Foods, which has backed the startup, said: “As a domestic Chinese plant-based meat company, Starfield deeply understands the culinary diversity of Chinese cuisine and is continuously working closely with numerous restaurant partners to understand what new plant-based products are needed and would be successful.”
“This is very much in line with Dao Foods’ approach of supporting entrepreneurs who will establish and broaden the plant-based food category in China with new and exciting products.”
Looking ahead, though Starfield’s current focus is mainland China – the biggest market in Asia that is seeing notable expansion in the plant-based scene with the launch of Starbucks China’s vegetarian menu nationwide and multiple fast food chains hopping on the trend – the startup does have global aspirations in the longer term.
Our goal is to become an impactful food technology company, bringing healthy and environmentally friendly products to every corner of the world and promoting the development of sustainable food technology globally.Kiki Wu, Co-Founder of Starfield
“The core mission of Starfield is to enable consumers to live a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with the earth and the environment,” explains Kiki Wu, co-founder of Starfield.
“Our goal is to become an impactful food technology company, bringing healthy and environmentally friendly products to every corner of the world and promoting the development of sustainable food technology globally.”
All images courtesy of Starfield.