Cargill Invests in ENOUGH’s Series C & Expands Partnership to Create Mycoprotein Products

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Cargill has added to Scottish-Dutch food tech startup ENOUGH’s Series C funding round with an undisclosed sum to expand their existing partnership, which will see the meat giant co-create and market products with the latter’s ABUNDA mycoprotein.

Cargill, which is one of the Big Four meat producers in the US, has topped up the Series C funding pot for ENOUGH to earn a single-digit stake in the mycoprotein startup and extend its alternative protein portfolio. The investment adds to ENOUGH’s €40M/$43M financing round last August, and sees Cargill sign a commercial agreement to co-create and market plant-based meat products with the startup’s ABUNDA mycoprotein.

ENOUGH’s 160,000 sq ft Dutch manufacturing facility in Sas van Gent is co-located with a Cargill starch plant, which provides glucose syrup from sustainably sourced grains as feedstock for the former’s fungal biomass. The mycoprotein is centrifuged to remove most of the sugary wastewater, which is supplied to Cargill’s neighbouring bioethanol plant in a zero-waste process.

The collaboration is part of the EU-funded PLENITUDE consortium, with Cargill leveraging ENOUGH’s plant-based proteins, texturisers and fats, and its formulations and applications capabilities, and ENOUGH benefitting from the meat giant’s global footprint and feedstock technology expertise, enabling it to scale up faster.

“Expanding our partnership with Cargill is an exciting step to accelerate the great strides we’ve already made through the co-location of our Sas van Gent facility,” said ENOUGH CEO Jim Laird. “The alternative protein market is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity, and efficiency will come from collaboration with partners such as Cargill to leverage existing demand and supply chain to gain scale.”

A climate-friendly protein looking to overcome sector challenges

enough mycoprotein
Courtesy: ENOUGH

ENOUGH was founded in 2015 and makes its ABUNDA mycoprotein using the same fungi strain as Quorn’s via biomass fermentation. This is said to be high in protein and fibre, contain all nine essential amino acids, and comprise a neutral flavour and meat-like texture to create plant-based meat and fish, as well as dairy alternatives.

Plus, the startup claims ABUNDA is 15 times more efficient than beef thanks to its zero-waste, circular production process, which uses 93% less water, 97% less feed and has 97% fewer carbon emissions than beef. This drives down costs to produce the mycoprotein.

ENOUGH’s facility, which began production last year, was initially producing 10,000 metric tonnes of ABUNDA a year, with plans to scale up to 60,000 tonnes annually by 2027 – the equivalent of one cow’s worth of protein every two minutes. By 2033, the producer aims to amp up yearly production to one million metric tonnes, which it says equates to replacing five million cows or over a billion chickens.

With a total of €95M/$102M raised to date, ENOUGH has been in conversations with multiple manufacturers for its protein, with over 30 sampling the ingredient. Among its customers are European poultry processor Plukon Food Group, which is making chicken and meat analogues using ABUNDA; Unilever, which will test the mycoprotein for The Vegetarian Butcher products; and manufacturers supplying to UK supermarket M&S.

ENOUGH’s partnership with Cargill comes at a challenging time for the plant-based meat sector, which has been rocked by closures, layoffs and bleak sales. In the US, meat alternatives saw a 7.8% decline in year-on-year sales by the end of 2023, according to NielsenIQ data. But speaking to AFN, Laird, an industry veteran, noted that “for every horror story in this market, there are also success stories out there”, adding that while there was “a bit of a hype cycle”, the underlying trends driving alternative protein still exist.

“I’m not your average 25-year-old startup CEO,” he said. “We’ve been developing this technology for eight years. There are capex costs, but what we’re doing is very scalable. We take a 200,000-liter tank full of water, sugar and micronutrients, we inoculate it with fungus and it doubles in size every four to six hours. In a couple of days, we get up to [critical mass] and then we start to harvest on a continuous basis.”

Cargill’s alt-protein footprint, and controversies

cargill plant based
Courtesy: Cargill

Cargill is the largest privately held company in the US, in terms of revenue, which reached $177B last year. The food processing behemoth supplies around 22% of the domestic meat market in the US, and has committed to reducing apply chain emissions by 30% per ton of product sold by 2030.

It has made numerous investments in the alternative protein industry, including cultivated meat pioneers UPSIDE Foods, Aleph Farms and Wildtype, pea protein producer Puris (which supplies to Beyond Meat), 3D-printed meat startup Cocuus, and plant-based meat company Bflike. The company has also partnered with Cubiq Foods to co-develop and commercialise plant-based fat technologies, and teamed up with KFC to launch vegan chicken nuggets in China in 2020.

In 2019, it created an in-house alternative protein division, and has been offering its plant proteins to foodservice and retail customers since 2020. Plus, it has a vegan range called PlantEver for the Chinese market. However, it is not a company free from controversies, with Mighty Earth chair and former US Congressman Henry Waxman calling Cargill “the worst company in the world” in 2019, driving problems like deforestation, pollution, climate change and exploitation “at a scale that dwarfs their closest competitors.”

The multinational has been embroiled in multiple scandals over the years. It was among a group of companies facing boycotts from major food corporations (including McDonald’s) against the supply of soybeans grown from newly deforested land in the 2000s. It has been accused of buying cocoa grown illegally in national parks and protected forests in the Ivory Coast, endangering the habitats of wildlife species including chimpanzees and elephants. Plus, Cargill sells massive volumes of palm oil, which is linked to widespread tropical deforestation.

In 2020, one of its meat processing plants in Canada was linked to over 358 cases of Covid-19, with reports alleging that the company denied personal protective equipment to employees. And while it has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in its North American beef supply chain by 30% by 2030, it could prove to be a tall order considering its climate footprint was once found to be greater than the entire country of the Netherlands.

Focusing on alternative protein investments and partnerships is just one step towards its climate goals, but nevertheless significant. “Cargill is strengthening its partnership with ENOUGH because the world needs more protein that is grown more sustainably to keep pace with global population growth,” said Belgin Köse, managing director of meat and dairy alternatives at Cargill.

“Mycoprotein is an emerging ingredient with a disruptive role to play due to its many benefits including a meat-like texture, protein profile, scalability and sustainability,” she added. Other companies working with such mycelium-based proteins include Meati, Libre Foods, Infinite Roots, Bolder Foods and CellX.


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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