Celebrity-Backed NotCo Brings Its AI-Developed Vegan Chicken to Burger King
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Chile’s NotCo expands its presence in its backyard with new vegan chicken options in Burger King Chile.
It’s been a busy year since NotCo, the Chilean food-tech startup known for its AI technology dubbed Giusseppe, raised $235 million in a Series D funding round that included backing from tennis star Roger Federer, F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton, and Oscar-winning musician and filmmaker, Questlove.
Last year’s funding took NotCo into unicorn territory, earning a $1.5 billion valuation—a first for a Chilean company. That valuation came just a year after the startup was valued at $250 million. NotCo was launched in 2015 by Matias Muchnick whose vision has been to move the needle for plant-based food in its Latin American base as well as all other corners of the globe.
Despite pandemic setbacks for much of the sector, it’s been a busy year for the brand; NotCo expanded its U.S. presence with a Shake Shack milkshake collaboration featuring NotCo’s dairy-free milk earlier this spring. It also opened up its Canadian presence with its NotBurgers.
The company kicked off the year with plans to expand into Asia, where it says it’s planning to bring seafood to market. But perhaps most notably is the partnership it announced in February with Kraft Heinz. The companies created a new joint venture to develop plant-based products.
“The joint venture with TheNotCompany is a critical step in the transformation of our product portfolio and a tremendous addition to our brand design-to-value capabilities.,” Miguel Patricio, Kraft Heinz CEO said in a statement. “It helps deliver on our vision to offer more clean, green, and delicious products for consumers. We believe the technology that NotCo brings is revolutionising the creation of delicious plant-based foods with simpler ingredients.”
NotCo x Burger King
Now, NotCo has announced its vegan chicken, which debuted last year, is on the menu in two new Burger King sandwiches and nuggets across locations in Chile. It has worked with Burger King before on menu items in Chile and Paraguay.
Burger King says the growing demand for vegan options has made the partnership an easy decision.
“[They] ask for a variety of vegetable options without compromising on taste,” Jaime Ponce, Burger King Chile’s category manager said in a statement. “We are sure they will love [the NotCo menu items].”
The launch of the chicken coincides with Burger King making its entire menu meat-free at two of its Chilean locations for a limited time. The fast-food chain has done this before, most recently in Europe at two locations in Switzerland. That followed a vegan turn at its London flagship location. It’s a nod to the growing demand for vegan food even in traditionally meat-heavy sectors such as fast food that companies like NotCo are perpetuating.
Like Burger King’s most notable North American partner, Impossible Foods, NotCo is building name recognition with consumers, which it hopes will lead to increased demand for vegan options.
“We want to reach every corner of the world,” Maximiliano Silva, NotCo’s country manager in Chile, said in a statement. “We are in a complex environmental moment and we believe that, through these alliances, we can make a difference to make an impact on the planet.”