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Leading Australian plant-based meat manufacturer Fënn Foods has scooped $3 million in its latest funding round from Bombora Investment Management. The round was private and oversubscribed, with new investors participating alongside existing backers. Funds are earmarked for across-the-board expansion and refining of processes.
Founded in 2015, Fënn Foods is known for its range of plant-based ‘vEEF’, with a carbon-neutral iteration was slated for domestic and international release by the end of 2021. Products have proven popular in both grocery and foodservice sectors. The new investment will allow for production capacity increases, sophisticated marketing, and new product innovation.
Capital has been raised to support Fënn Foods as it ramps up to meet global demand for plant-based meat products. “Plant-based foods are one of the most rapidly growing segments of the global food market and, according to Food Frontier, in Australia alone, the plant-based market is estimated to generate approximately $3bn in retail sales by 2030,” Nicholas Simms, executive chairman for Fënn Foods said in a statement.
Still considered an emerging market in Australia, plant-based meat sales are showing sizable increases. In 2020, sales were up by 46 percent. If growth continues at the same pace, $3 billion in sales is a viable prediction.
Already seeking to cater to palate diversity, the company offers a large selection of products. Chicken, beef and bacon analogues can be purchased, catering to a variety of cooking applications. Basics, such as mince, are sold alongside pulled beef, meatballs and bacon bits. So far, no potential new lines have been confirmed.
“The plant-based food market is growing rapidly both in Australia and globally and we see Fënn Foods as having a unique point of difference in this burgeoning market,” Mike Hill, managing director and chief investment officer for Bombora Investment Management said in a statement. “The Company is positioned perfectly to take advantage of consumers’ growing demand for plant-based foods.”
Already stocked in Woolworths and Coles, Fënn Foods will be using its capital investment to source further distribution partnerships with big domestic chains. It is likely to look to Asia for new retail channels, as Singapore was named as a target for its carbon-neutral vEEF debut.
Australia’s rising alt-protein scene
Plant-based manufacturing is on the rise in the southern hemisphere. In December last year, domestic enterprise ProForm secured a $5 million investment from Harvest Road. It came after competition of new company production facilities that increased plant-based meat output to 5,000 tonnes per year. It was regarded as a show of confidence in the growing demand for meat-free foods.
Earlier in the year, vegan meat maker Harvest B announced the successful closing of a $3.5 million seed round. It was also awarded a $1 million grant from the Australian government to support domestic manufacturing for international markets. The grant was considered a public vote of confidence from the government, in the plant-based sector as a whole.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the sector, however. In August last year, Australia’s big meat industry funded research that suggested consumers are easily confused and duped into buying plant-based products when they wanted animal protein. The findings were largely debunked, with companies escaping costly rebranding to remove any ‘meat’ terms from their packaging.
Lead photo of Nicholas Simms by Wallis Media.