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Alternative meat company Hooray Foods, which has made headlines for its plant-based bacon, has raised US$2 million in a seed round that takes the company’s total funding to date around US$4 million. The funds will be used to expand its product range, upgrade its production facility and launch new sales channels.
U.S.-based Hooray Foods’ seed round was led by New York-based venture-capital fund Evolution VC Partners, along with participation from Gaingels and Sand Hill Angels, a group of angel investors in Silicon Valley.
Founded in 2019 by Sri Artham, the company has created an alternative to pork bacon out of a coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, umami seasoning, maple syrup, salt, and beet juice concentrate.
According to the company, the bacon’s 20% fat component is due to its encapsulation process, an effort to provide a much more juicy texture as compared to other alternative meat products, by replicating the fatty texture of traditional bacon.
Hooray Foods says it will use the new capital to produce new alternative meats, upgrade its existing bacon product and scale its production to further expand into retail and grocery chains across the U.S.
Apart from the capital raised, founder and CEO of Evolution VC Partners, Gregg Smith will be joining the company’s board of directors.
The company received seed funding last year from plant-based investor Stray Dog Capital, the same investor that supported Hooray Foods in its pre-seed financing in 2019. Operated by Stray Dog Capital’s Macy Marriott, the Glasswall Syndicate, a group of venture capitalists, foundations, trusts, non-profit organisations and individual investors based in Kansas City, also participated in that round.
In November last year, the company launched its bacon in 300 U.S. Whole Foods stores, with the product available in some independent retailers, vegan markets, and small cafes in San Francisco as well.
There are a few other companies working on what some say is the holy grail of pork meat: California-based Prime Roots are creating bacon strips, turkey and other meaty-tasting preparations using Japanese koji fungus, a centuries-old ingredient that has been utilized in Asian cuisines and that lends the dish a fermented umami flavour while Mission Barns, also operating from California, conducted tastings of its cell-based bacon and is in talks with leading food brands already.
Food tech Atlast Food Co., a spinoff from mycelium packaging pioneer Ecovative Design, which makes fungi-based bacon, received US$40 million to build the largest mycelium production facility in the United States, backed by Stray Dog Capital and Robert Downey Jr.’s climate fund Footprint Coalition Ventures, among others.
Lead image courtesy of Hooray Foods.