Chicken, an as-yet-undeveloped area of the plant-based and cell-cultured meat market, is coming into its own with new infusions of funding.
For example, plant-based-chicken marketer Daring Foods and animal-cell-cultured meat provider Good Meat this week announced a combined $210 million in new funding rounds.
In addition, cell-cultured meat pioneer Upside Foods—known until recently as Memphis Meats—disclosed for the first time that Whole Foods Market and its CEO, John Mackey, have made investments in the company.
A year after Daring’s U.S. launch, the company secured $40 million in a round led by D1 Capital Partners and rap star Drake, among others.
Since the company’s $8 million funding round last October, Daring says it’s added more than 1,000 retail locations—including Costco, Wegmans, Kroger and Imperfect Foods.
Daring sells pouches of 100% plant-based-chicken pieces with 14 grams of protein per serving and non-GMO ingredients.
“The brand has a significant growth runway ahead of it, as the chicken market remains underpenetrated by plant-based products,” D1 Capital Partners investor Michael Tully said in a news release.
Good Meat corralled $170 million in new funding from UBS O’Connor and others as it prepares to enter the nascent, cell-cultured meat market in the United States.
In December, Good Meat parent Eat Just—whose Just Egg is a leader in plant-based egg substitutes—said it received the world’s first-ever regulatory allowance of meat created directly from animal cells for human consumption.
That approval enabled Good Meat’s cell-cultured chicken to be used as an ingredient in chicken bites for sale in Singapore. On Monday, the company announced that a restaurant at the JW Marriott in Singapore was the first eatery to serve cultured meat.
Also ramping up for cell-cultured meat production and distribution in the United States is early cell-culture pioneer Memphis Meats—which recently rebranded itself as Upside Foods and explains the cell-culture process in this video.
As it seeks regulatory approval, Upside has broken ground on a pilot production facility in the San Francisco Bay area. The company says it will likely begin production of cell-cultured chicken by the end of 2021.
New investor Whole Foods CEO John Mackey had something to say about the company. “Upside Foods is meeting [consumers] at the center of their plates with meat they can feel good about,” Mackey notes in a statement posted on Upside’s website. “This has the potential to revolutionize the way people eat, which is why I’ve personally invested in the company.”