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Maryland-based plant-based meat maker Everything Legendary has closed a $6million Series A round led by CircleUp Growth Partners. Existing investors Mark Cuban and General Mills participated in the funding Funds have been earmarked for ambitious growth plans that include increased retail presence and new line developments.
The brand currently makes burger patties and ground beef and plans to add vegan boneless chicken wings, sausages and breakfast patties. Everything Legendary is currently stocked in 1,500 outlets, with major retailers Target and Publix included. By summer 2022, the company hopes to have a presence in 5,600 more locations.
The making of a brand
Proudly Black-owned, Everything Legendary was catapulted into the sector after an appearance on Shark Tank in 2021. Mark Cuban was impressed with co-founders Duane “Myko” Cheers, Danita Claytor and Jumoke Jackson’s pitch and the product and duly invested. As a result, the brand launched as a gourmet clean-label offering, containing ingredients not frequently used. Use of fruits such as raisins and orange peel have proved surprising, yet successful.
With $6 million raised, Everything Legendary plans to increase its product lines immediately, while finalising new retail partnerships. A new board member has been announced; Russell Simmons, co-founder of hip-hop label Def Jam Recordings and entrepreneur, has taken a position as a senior adviser. This represents an opportunity for the brand to further accommodate the Black community, which is shifting towards plant-based eating for health.
Centred around pea and hemp protein, Everything Legendary products tend to contain fewer calories and more protein than close rivals. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are included. With backing from General Mills, which has previously invested in Beyond, marketing can be refined to educate valuable consumer demographics.
“Our rapid sales trajectory and swift, expansive distribution growth proves people agree with us that the soul of food is taste,” Cheers saisd in a statement. “We’re delivering the satisfying flavor American families want and the nutritious value they need to live better, longer and happier lives.”
The new vegan niche
Clean label foods look set to be the new niche within plant-based eating that encourages even healthier products development. Suddenly, it’s not enough for plant-based meat to be less impactful than conventional animal protein. Now, consumers are driving brands to subscribe to the notion of ingredient lists that can be easily pronounced, or in the case of Pink Albatross ice cream, drawn.
Earlier this month, US-based Actual Veggies announced its clean label products are being stocked next to meat burgers. The vegetable-only patties, recognisable for their bright colours and no-hiding-the-veggies aesthetic, are now being sold by Plum Market. The chain has decided to merchandise them alongside conventional meat burgers, to offer consumers an easy alternative. The move comes after Beyond Meat launched burgers in a butcher counter display, in Whole Foods, in 2016.
The clean label movement isn’t exclusive to the U.S. Last year, Singapore’s mohjo completed a seed funding round to bring clean label dairy-free milk to the Asian market. The brand was founded by Juhi Dang, who felt that alternative dairy products could be significantly cleaner and more natural. Fellow Singaporean brand Oatside has just announced that it is on a similar path. It has released three oat milk drinks to market, all powered by ingredients that everyone will recognise.
Lead product image courtesy of Everything Legendary.