This startup wants to give plant-based foods a meaty aroma and taste. Here’s the 13-slide pitch deck Nourish Ingredients used to raise $28.6 million.
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- A startup creating animal-free fat to mimic ones found in meat just landed $28.6 million.
- Nourish Ingredients hopes its fat will help plant-based meat taste, smell and cook like the real thing.
- Check out the 13-slide pitch deck it used to secure the Series A round from Horizons Ventures.
A startup making an animal-free alternative to fat cells found in meat has just raised $28.6 million to bring its product to market.
Australia-based startup Nourish Ingredients, founded in 2019, has developed a way to make animal fats, without the use of animals. Its fat, made from fermented yeast, can be used as a base ingredient in plant-based alternatives to meat including beef and chicken.
Nourish Ingredients’ fat will give foods a meaty aroma and taste, cofounder and CEO James Petrie told Insider. It will help products cook like meat too, replicating its “golden color” and crispiness. The end goal is to help alternative proteins go mainstream, growing the overall market with sustainability and consumer health in mind, he said.
After two years of growth, plant-based food sales have stagnated as public perception dwindles, according to Deloitte. Researchers found that the addressable market may be smaller than anticipated, people aren’t willing to pay a premium as the cost of living soars, and the benefits of meat alternatives may are being questioned.
Cutting out meat and dairy can reduce the environmental impact of a person’s diet by up to 73%, according to a 2018 Oxford study. However, air miles and high levels of processing have thrown fake meat’s sustainability credentials into question.
“A lot of the foods that are out on the market now, they’re appealing to vegans and vegetarians, but they’re not quite hitting the mark with carnivores,” Petrie said. “That’s a problem because, if you really want to get that massive step up in volume, you have to get that mainstream audience. We’ve still got a little bit of work to do.”
Petrie spent 14 years at CSIRO where he spearheaded the creation of a plant-based fish oil for omega-3. When asked if he could do something similar for alternative proteins, he decided to take on the challenge, he said.
The cofounder said he was “deeply suspicious” of plant-based food. He said he planned to take advantage of his skepticism to help build convincing products.
With cofounder and fellow scientist Benjamin Leita and their team, Petrie essentially dissected pieces of meat both before and after cooking to understand what fat types were present. Many of these fats are readily substituted with vegetable oils, Petrie said, but Nourish Ingredients honed in on one of the most potent fats that was not yet easy to swap out but brought out important tastes, smells and textures.
Nourish Ingredients is currently focused on B2B customers with food manufacturers. However, Petrie said a future where consumers can buy its fat off-the-shelf for their own cooking was “tempting.” Nourish Ingredients is also working on a fat for plant-based dairy.
The round was led by Horizons Ventures, an early backer of Slack and Spotify, with participation from Australian firms Main Sequence Ventures and Hostplus. It brings the company’s total raised to $40 million.
It will use the fresh funds to take its first product to market in 2023, in partnership with food companies. To reach this milestone, it will bolster its 50-strong headcount with hires who have experience in scaling companies – “to help us avoid mistakes,” Petrie said.
While the startup’s headquarters and research and development facility is in Australia, Petrie said the company had set its sights on the US, European, and Southeast Asian markets.
Correction: October 20, 2022 – An earlier version of this story stated that Nourish Ingredients was making plant-based alternatives to fat found in meat. This has been updated to “animal-free” alternatives.
Check out the redacted 13-slide pitch deck it used to raise the funds below.