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Barcelona-based vegan startup Heura has become the fastest growing European company in the plant-based industry with a staggering 450% growth in the past year. Within just 3 years, the company’s presence has expanded from its native Spain to other countries in Europe, Asia and South America, testament to the growing global demand for healthier and more sustainable proteins. With increasing consumer interest, more funding from food tech industry investors and governments has poured into the startup.
Heura, a plant-based meat startup founded in 2017 on Earth Day by Marc Coloma and Bernat Añaños, has just announced that it has seen a 450% growth in the past year, making it the fastest-growing European startup in the plant-based meat sector. The company offers a range of 100% plant-based alternatives made from non-GMO soybeans, and is free from gluten, cholesterol, dyes and preservatives.
Commenting on its success, co-founder Bernat Añaños said Heura has “already saved 276,643 animals since we started and this year we hope to reach 1,500,000 with the growth figures that we are reaching.”
True to their goal to disrupt the unsustainable food system, the spike in sales of Heura’s plant-based products also means that the company has to date saved more than 3.6 million kilograms of carbon dioxide – equivalent to 375 times around the world by car. Heura’s meat alternative also uses far less water and land to produce compared to conventional animal protein.
“These figures give us encouragement to continue working hard on our international expansion that has Chile as its next destination, stepping for the first time in the Latin American market this June,” said co-founder Marc Coloma.
Investment has poured into the fast-growing vegan startup as the plant-based market continues to skyrocket. In a recent funding round, Heura attracted investment from early stage alternative protein investment firm New Crop Capital, which has previously backed a number of big name food techs including Beyond Meat, alongside other profilic vegan investors Michiel van Deursen, the founder of Capital V. Earlier in January, Heura also experienced groundbreaking funding support from the Spanish government via the sustainability-led NEOTEC Program of the Centre for Industrial Technological Development.
Last year, Heura partnered with Hong Kong-based Green Monday to bring its vegan chicken alternatives to Hong Kong and Singapore. In an exclusive interview with Green Queen in September, Añaños said that the rise in demand for vegan proteins globally will usher in a new system with “at least a doubling of plant-based options…I think we will see plant-based options for every single thing.”
Asia’s plant-based market has seen steady growth in recent months, but the coronavirus pandemic has heightened consumer awareness about the health, environmental and safety advantages of plant-based foods. Combined with ongoing livestock and seafood epidemics such as the avian flu, African swine fever and Div1 virus, it is likely that even more people will opt for vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes.
In a recent report by global consultancy firm OC&C Strategy, analysts predicted that 10-20% of the current global protein market will soon be displaced by plant-based alternatives due to a significant rise in consumer interest prompted by a combination of health, safety, environmental and animal welfare concerns.
Analysts additionally highlighted Covid-19 as a likely driver for stronger food safety standards in China, which may bring about a greater shift amongst mass Chinese consumers to embrace alternative meats.
Update May 2020: This article has been updated to reflect Heura’s recent investment news.
Lead image courtesy of Heura.