Black Sheep Foods Raise a $12.3 Million Series A for Plant-Based Lamb

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Black Sheep Foods, the Bay Area plant-based food tech company working to create vegan lamb meat with proprietary patent-pending technology has closed a $12.3 million Series A funding round.

Black Sheep’s funding was led by Unovis, Bessemer Venture Partners, AgFunder, and Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, bringing total investment to $18.05 million since the company launched in 2019. It raised more than $5 million in seed funding last January.

‘Giving consumers access to the most delicious meat variety’

“Our minds associate meat with a shape, a texture, and a flavor,” Sunny Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Black Sheep Foods, said in a statement. “While texture has been the focus of meat innovation, flavor is a white space. Our debut lamb made from plants has more depth of flavor, richness, and appetizing aromatics than other meats, full stop. We’re in the business of giving consumers access to the most delicious meat variety, using plants instead of animals.”

Black Sheep Vegan Lamb
Black Sheep’s vegan lamb | Courtesy

Black Sheep says the fresh funding will go toward scaling up production and moving into a new facility that will increase production significantly, moving Black Sheep’s output to 16 million pounds per year. It will also focus on securing national distribution; it launched its plant-based lamb meat in California restaurants last year, including Michelin-starred fine dining and quick service eateries including Ettan, Souvla, and Nick’s on Beverly. Its restaurant placement is now teetering toward 50 locations.

The company says its sales volume “is on a tear,” with a large number of repeat customers. One repeat customer, the Greek Bay Area restaurant, Souvla, says Black Sheep is a hit with its patrons.

“At Souvla, we were incredibly thoughtful when selecting a plant-based meat partner. Since launching Black Sheep Foods’ product in our restaurants last year, we’ve been seriously impressed with its integration into our menu and the overwhelmingly positive response from our many loyal guests,” Charles Billies, CEO and Founder of Souvla, said. “We remain excited about the future of their product offerings and this important movement in the years to come.” 

Global meat market

While the leading plant-based meat brands including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, as well as the sea of competitors in their wake, have focused on replicating beef, pork, and chicken — lamb, and other less common meats in the U.S. market, hold great potential in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and the Middle East.

Black Sheep Vegan Lamb
Black Sheep’s lamb meat has global appeal | Courtesy

Black Sheep’s lamb has already earned a following in the Middle East, the company says. Prince Khaled calls the lamb, “shockingly good.” He says, as someone who grew up with the taste profile in Saudi Arabia, he couldn’t believe the “authentic mouthfeel and flavor. With taste being a vital aspect of customer adoption, Black Sheep Foods will easily dominate amongst plant-based meats.”

Khaled says game meats are also a wide-open playing field. “There’s a whole range of taste profiles that Black Sheep will be able to explore, especially with the company’s technology, allowing for an amplified flavor, excellent texture, and a strong nutritional profile.”


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