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Chicago’s Nature’s Fynd, which is famously backed by tech billionaire Bill Gates, has announced its Meatless Original Breakfast Patties will be sold in select Whole Foods Market stores across the U.S. from April. The patties are made with the company’s proprietary fermented Fy protein, made from fungi.
Distribution confirmation comes after a $350 million Series C raise last year for global rollout, with initial focus on nationwide consumer reach in the U.S. Alongside the breakfast sausage patties, Nature’s Fynd released a cream cheese analogue at the end of 2021.
Stepping up to the (breakfast) plate
The company has received more than $500 million in funding to bring its fermented microbe protein to market. Proprietary technology was developed off the back of microbial-focused NASA research. In 2021, CEO and co-founder Thomas Jonas revealed that Nature’s Fynd had proven that it could replicate its nutritional fungi protein at full commercial scale. To prove the concept, the company trialled a breakfast bundle of products that featured vegan sausage patties and plant-based cream cheese. Bundles sold out in 24 hours, leading to a projected 2022 retail launch for both products, which is now coming to fruition.
“The innate versatility and natural texture of Fy Protein enables us to create delicious vegan foods that appeal to our customers,” Jonas said in a statement. “We are delighted to launch our innovative Fy-based Meatless Original Breakfast Patties at Whole Foods Market stores—this furthers our mission of nourishing people and nurturing the planet.”
Nature’s Fynd considers its patties a viable substitute for conventional meat items, with 11 grams of protein per serving and four grams of fibre. It is claimed that they contain 75 percent less fat than pork sausage and required a fraction of land and energy resources to produce. 10 states are set to participate in the Whole Foods market rollout.
“At Whole Foods Market, we are always looking for innovative and trending products to add to our shelves. With Nature’s Fynd, we have found a delicious breakfast option to add to our growing meat alternatives category that we believe our customers will love,” Parker Brody, senior global category merchant of center store at Whole Foods Market said in a statement. “We are excited to bring Nature’s Fynd Meatless Breakfast Patties to our stores and look forward to introducing them to our customers.”
Fungi at full-scale
The fungi-based protein sector is growing and exhibiting diverse progress. From bacon to egg whites and heated lawsuits, a lot is going on.
Barcelona’s Libre Foods closed a $2.5 million seed round last month. Led by Green Generation Fund, the round will help Libre scale its flagship mushroom bacon and begin developing whole cut chicken and steak analogues. Bacon will be the first commercial launch, with direct-to-consumer and foodservice channels both being explored. In lieu of EU approval for the use of mycelium, a mushroom stand-in has been developed, though the former can be switched in seamlessly, as and when appropriate.
Onego Bio, an offshoot startup from the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, is focused on harnessing fungi protein as a replacement for conventional egg whites. The company recently announced it had concluded a €10 million seed round. Funding will be used to scale up for commercial launch of a ‘bioalbumen’ developed using precision fermentation of fungi. The product is said to be a like-for-like swap for regular egg whites and will be supplied, once approved, as a B2B ingredient.
On a less positive note, Meati Foods and The Better Meat Co. are engaged in a courtroom battle. The former is claiming IP infringement over its proprietary mycelium harvesting technology. The latter is firing back with accusations of reputation smearing in order to sabotage fundraising efforts. The case continues.
All photos by Nature’s Fynd.