Snaxshot #09: It's An Alt-World

We're just eating it.

A newsletter on upcoming food and beverage trends that offers a curation of brands and aesthetics written by Andrea Hernández.

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“I ate civilization. It poisoned me.”

—ALDOUS HUXLEY, Brave New World

Dispatch from a place of nutritional fulfillment, it’s your favorite host with high hopes that you read this title to the tune of Gary Jule’s “Mad World” for added effect. A world gone mad with overconsumption, which has sparked a debate on whether or not our food supply as we know it can sustain it. Hence the rise of the Alts that are here to cater to “flexitarians” and vegans alike while providing more sustainable solutions to a growing world population.

If 2019 proved to be a prosperous year for alt-foods, think Beyond’s IPO and BigFood™ debuting their own alt-lines, the pandemic of 2020 only served to solidify the foundations of our BRAVE NEW ALT-WORLD.

In The Beginning There Was Demand 🌅

—In 2018, global plant-based milk sales reached an estimated $16 billion and projected to reach $38 billion by 2024.

—Global plant-based meat sales hit an estimated $4.6 billion in 2018.

—In the US alone, retail sales of plant-based meat is estimated $1 billion in 2020.

—The seven countries that are leading in plant-based food innovation: the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, and Israel.

—Between 2017 and 2019, retail sales of plant-based meat grew 31%, while total U.S. retail meat sales grew just 5%.

—As of 2018, 6% of Americans say they followed a strictly vegetarian lifestyle, while 3% followed a strictly vegan lifestyle according to Nielsen.

—Alt-dairy market grew by 60% in five years and as of 2019 held a 12.6% market share from dairy products.

—According to Nielsen, plant-based food has posted double digit growth since 2018. During the early days of the pandemic, sales of plant-based meat surged 264%.

—2020 has seen $1.5 billion invested in alt-food, $435 gone towards microbial fermentation as it seeks to become third pillar of alt-protein industry.

—Impossible CEO forecasts by 2035, tech will replace the use of animals in food industry.

—PepsiCo launched its GreenHouse Accelerator program partnering with upcoming plant-based players.

—Unilever set sales target from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives at $1.2 billion in next 5-7 years.

—JBS, the world’s largest meat company, launched their plant-based burger earlier this year, OZO.

—Chobani released an oat-based lineup of yogurts, creamers, and milks that hit shelves during 2020.

God’s Favorite Alt-Food 😇

Beyond Meat: IPO’d bringing in over $760 million for the company and investors back in 2019. In 2020, Beyond Meat continues to thrive as pandemic shocked meat supply, saw growing demand from retailers.

Here’s a few more updates from them:

—Launched DTC site.

Beyond Meatballs now available at Costco.

—Launched their alt-patties products in Brazil.

—Collaboration with Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and announced more “fast-food” collaborations in 2021.

Alt-Meat 🥩

Fazenda Futuro: One of the most impressive players rising from Latin America, they’ve raised almost $30 million for their plant-based meat alternatives (from alt-chicken to alt-linguiças) that are sold in marketplaces across LatAm and the world including GPA, Carrefour, and Makro. Their latest round was raised a few months ago, after Beyond Meat announced it would be introducing its products into Brazil.

POW! Foods: Chile is another rising star when it comes to alt-foods as 5% of their population now considers themselves vegetarian, huge considering just how much “asados” or meat cookouts are embedded in South American “gaucho” culture. A female-led food tech company that has wowed LatAm with the introduction of animal-free chorizo. 

Simulate: Backed with around $15 million in funding, Ben Pasternak is essentially becoming the Tesla of alt-food. Recently rebranded Nuggs to Simulate (genius) they’ve managed to reinvent American favorites “chicken nuggets” for a generation that continues to seek to eliminate meat products all together.

They recently launched “disk” or their fried chicken patty, still playing on the nostalgia for older technologies but fits right in with the “software” approach that Nestlé’s CEO talks about re: alt-food improvements coming in every 6 months similar to “software updates.” Simulate has recently launched a BBQ sauce to complement existing SKUs.

SinJamón: With over 100+ vendors on their waiting list after their product sold out throughout Spain, SinJamón is the world’s first vegan “cured ham” alternative that is made from acorns and other plant ingredients. The product resembles the original in terms of looks, and from it’s popularity, seems like it delivers on taste as well.

V2Food: Australia’s answer to alt-meat, has raised $55 million from the likes of Goldman and Temasek. They provide the alt-meat patties to Hungry Jack’s (Burger King) in Australia and are looking to introduce their products into Asian market.

Alt-Egg 🥚

Eat Just: Have had a fantastic year in 2020, not only did they celebrate selling over 50 million plant-based eggs and solidifying partnerships with manufacturers across LatAm, Europe and Asia, they also got the first historic regulatory approval for cultured meat in Singapore.

Evo Foods: India’s first plant-based egg startup, they’ve raised $335K so far to help them bring their formula to market (use biotech to extract protein from lentils) they are planning to launch in the US by April 2021.

Zero Egg: Israeli based and has raised a total of $8 million to launch their egg powder alternative made from soy protein isolate and pea flour. Recently raised a round ($5 million) as they plan on expanding to US.

Crackd: Based in the UK, their product is a liquid egg replacement that uses cold-pressed pea protein, nutritional yeast, and black sea salt for its signature egg product which they’ve secured national distribution for.

Alt-Dairy 🐄

Impossible Foods: Mentioned under alt-dairy because of their recent announcement that they have been developing a plant-based alt-milk that emulates taste and texture of actual dairy. Impossible has raised around $1.4 billion in funding. They recently announced a new Chief Science Officer as they are doubling down on research and development and is looking into developing a “crackable” alt-egg.

NotCo: Launched in 2015 in Chile, a company that makes the entire region of Latin America proud, as they’ve embarked to become the alt-Nestlé catering to Millennials/GenZ from the start. They’ve raised around $115 million from the likes of Bezos and is ready to take on Beyond and Impossible as they recently introduce their first product into WholeFoods in the US, their NotCo alt-milk made with AI, cabbage and pineapple. (Yes, you read that right)

Eclipse: Following the "Beyond Meat playbook” and recently raised $12 million in Series A led by the likes of Alexis Ohanian and Forerunner Ventures. They’ve also secured retail distributions across the West coast (still DTC as well) and are banking on their ability to closely emulate dairy texture, also seeking to launch more alt-dairy SKUs down the line.

Tache: Had to include Táche purely for their insanely good aesthetics but also the fact that pistachio milk is a thing, to me they offer a luxury version of alt-dairy. The founder also started this as a way to honor her Iranian roots, but also as pistachios are more sustainable nut alternative (they require less water than almonds for example) this alt-milk is high in protein and low in calories.

BIOMILQ: Included here because alt-breast milk is also a thing. Biomilq is targeting infant nutrition by attempting to reproduce mother’s breast milk in a lab, they’ve garnered $3.5 million in funding from Bill Gate’s investment firm, Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Alt-Seafood 🍤

Avant: A cell-based protein startup based in Hong Kong, they recently announced they raised $3.1 million in seed funding. Their cell-based seafood products include fish maw and sea cucumber (popular in the region) and they are currently developing a cell-based fish filet that can replace the real thing in burgers.

Good Catch: Based in the US, they specialize in developing plant-based seafood alternatives and have raised $30 million in funding so far. They recently announced their launch of their DTC site as well as expansion into Canada as they secured retail distribution throughout 640 locations, they’ve also made their European debut.

Shiok Meats: They are first cell-based seafood company in South East Asia and the world’s first working on cell-based shrimp. They’ve raised a total of $20 million in funding and their latest round was raised as they focus on building a first-of-its-kind, commercial, pilot plant in Singapore, from which it plans to launch its minced shrimp product in 2022.

A Different Kind of Alt 🦗

Bugs and Insect Protein: The market is estimated to hit $1.4 billion by 2026. Cricket being the fastest growing segment, particularly as alt-protein to feed our protein sources feed for fish or poultry farms. This year saw lots of venture capital go towards companies in this space:

Ynsect has raised $224 million.

Agriprotein has raised $105 million

Protifarm has raised around $10 million.

Hell on Earth 🔥

—Main shortcomings for many alt-food companies are related to product taste and texture as well as limited product diversity.

—Overcoming biotech challenges as companies seek to scale their production.

—Conflicts with BigMeat™ and BigDairy™ in terms of food labeling.

Heaven on Earth 🌤️

—Huge opportunity when it comes to biomimicking (or improving upon) sensory experience of eating animal products. See Beyond/Impossible’s V.2 patties as well as Impossible/Eclipse seeking to replicate dairy texture.

—Advancement in novel technologies for imparting structure and texture to plant-based meat without extrusion, such as 3-D printing. 3D printing particularly emerging as promising production method, see startups like Redefine Meat and NOVAMEAT.

—Biological processes, such as fermentation as well as using mycelium to create structure and protein for fungi-based meats, see Emergy Foods, Prime Roots, and Atlast Food Co.

Contact-less World 🤖

In a post-pandemic world, contactless is the name of the game:

WooWa is partnering with Hyundai to create robots that can go between building floors.

Walmart x Cruise entered partnership to explore autonomous grocery delivery.

—LG’s Cloi robots will be able to make grocery deliveries and be able to ride elevators.

KFC autonomous food truck was released in China.

—Jamba Juice partners with Blendid opens robot smoothie kiosk in Walmart.

See you again next week, a different future, same place.

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