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Viomix Tech, a Seoul-based company who recently entered the plant-based alternative space, has closed its Series A investment to grow its vegan product portfolio and launch in international markets, with the U.S. and Middle East as the first in its global expansion plan. Viomix also plans to double down in its domestic market, where its vegan-friendly meat range already enjoy a strong presence across major supermarket chains and e-commerce platforms.
Seoul-based Viomix Tech recently completed its Series A financing round, which drew participation from South Korean early-stage venture capital firm Atinum Partners, Californian tech-focused private equity firm Altos Ventures, and Paris-based Otium Capital. Without disclosing the amount of funding, Viomix Tech says the capital injection will go towards expanding its product line and entry into global markets.
Since its inception in 2016, the firm, whose range of food products is not exclusively vegan, has developed a separate line of vegan “Better Than Meat” alternatives using its low-moisture high-temperature technology to produce textured vegetable proteins. Made from soybeans, wheat protein, konjac and mushrooms, its meat analogues range from vegan pork cutlets to burger patties and chicken nuggets.
We will introduce future alternative foods that take into account the various food cultures around the world.Sophie So Hyun Yoon, CEO, Viomix Tech
Viomix also offers a number of other health-focused plant-based pantry products, including sugar substitutes, flour replacements and salt, all branded as “Better Than” its conventional versions.
Currently, the company’s products can be found across mainstream South Korean supermarkets and e-commerce platforms, but it plans to expand globally after bagging its Series A, with the U.S. and Middle East as its key target markets.
A part of its global expansion will be developing new alternative meat products suitable for an international audience, including launching vegan-friendly jerky, new vegetable-based vegan patties, and a plant-based stir-fried spicy pork product in 2021.
“We will introduce future alternative foods that take into account the various food cultures around the world,” said Sophie So Hyun Yoon, CEO of Viomix Tech.
“The plant based meat market is expected to grow to a global scale of 180 trillion won within the next 10 years” added Jun Seok Oh, vice president at Atinum Partners, who continued, saying the firm can “expect a full-fledged expansion from now on”.
The plant based meat market is expected to grow to a global scale of 180 trillion won within the next 10 years.Jun Seok Oh, Vice President, Atinum Partners
As for its domestic plan, Viomix says it will ramp up production in order to meet rising mainstream demand for plant-based alternatives, as consumers become increasingly aware of the health and sustainability concerns associated with the animal meat supply chain in the wake of the pandemic.
According to recent statistics, the number of vegans in South Korea has tripled within a decade to half a million, while flexitarianism has ballooned to an estimated 10 million – nearly 20% of the country’s total population.
“We aim to create an eco-friendly and well-being food industry and overcome the limitations of manufacturing alternative foods in Korea,” explained Yoon.
As the plant-based movement picks up speed, Viomix is among the rising cohort of homegrown companies establishing its presence, standing alongside fellow South Korean players like Unlimeat, the vegan beef brand developed by Zikooin, made from upcycled grains, nuts and oats that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Big food players in the country are on board too, with the likes of fast food giant Burger King Korea recently launching two new plant-based Whoppers across all 240 outlets. The chain has partnered with Sydney food tech v2food to supply the patties.
All images courtesy of Viomix Tech.