Redefine Meat, a food 3D printing firm developing animal-free meat, has raised $29 million in Series A funding that it plans to use to support its commercial launch this year. The funds will also be used to expand the firm’s alt-meat portfolio and drive its international growth.
The funding round was led by venture capital firms Happiness Capital and Hanaco Ventures, and was also joined by alternative protein investor CPT Capital and several other investment firms.
“We are thrilled to have concluded this round of funding with such a unique and diverse group of highly experienced, professional investors who share our vision,” said Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, CEO and Co-founder of Redefine Meat. “This funding, which was concluded faster and better than we could have imagined a year ago, is a major step towards becoming the world’s biggest alternative meat company by 2030.”
Redefining meat products through 3D printing
Founded in 2018 with the goal of addressing the sustainability of the global meat industry, Redefine Meat uses 3D printing to produce plant-based meat alternatives that emulate the appearance, texture, and flavor of roasted meats and steak.
The company raised $6 million in seed funding in 2019 to advance the development of its alt-meat 3D printer, which purportedly has a 95 percent smaller environmental impact in comparison to animal meat produced through conventional means. The following year, the firm revealed its first industrially 3D printed Alt-Steak product comprised of its own Alt-Muscle, Alt-Fat, and Alt-Blood set of formulated plant-based ingredients.
Most recently, the firm completed a successful blind-tasting in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel, which gave more than 600 customers the chance to try its range of 3D printed meat products. After feedback revealed the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of Redefine Meat’s products were comparable to that of animal meat, the company entered into a strategic partnership with Israeli meat distributor Best Meister. The partnership will see Best Meister distribute Redefine Meat’s alt-meat products commercially to Israeli restaurants and high-end butchers.
Scaling up for commercialization
After securing its first strategic commercial agreement with Best Meister earlier this year, Redefine Meat is seeking to drive its international growth throughout the rest of 2021, and further commercialize its alt-meat products within new markets.
The company currently has a large-scale pilot line under construction to step up the commercialization of its products, and will deploy what are reportedly the first-ever industrial 3D alt-meat printers within various meat distributors later this year. Investors in the company’s latest funding round believe its technology has the potential to make a “meaningful impact” on global meat consumption.
“Hanaco Ventures has been an investor in Redefine Meat since its seed round in 2019,” said Pasha Romanovski, Founding Partner of Hanaco Ventures. “The speed at which the company has progressed has been incredible. We have been very fortunate to work closely with Redefine Meat during 2020 and have watched the company rapidly grow from eight people to more than 40, despite the challenges of Covid-19.
“Our investment in Redefine Meat gives us first-hand access to amazing state-of-the-art meat dishes that will have a profound impact on meat-eating and the environment.”
According to fellow investor Happiness Capital, Redefine Meat is in a position to fill the gap in the alt-meat sector to adequately meet the needs of people who still want to eat traditional meat, but also wish to consume more sustainably.
“With technology that is ready for production, and strong strategic partners, Redefine Meat is poised to deliver high-quality meat alternatives that can make a meaningful impact on global meat consumption,” added Eric Ng, CEO of Happiness Capital.
3D printed food a commercial reality?
The 3D printed food sector, while very much still in a developmental phase, has seen relative progress in moving towards products and systems with commercial potential over the past year. Besides Redefine Meat, fellow Israeli food-tech startups SavorEat and Meat-Tech 3D have made gains of their own in the past few months, with SavorEat raising $13 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).
Meanwhile, Meat-Tech, which already trades on the TASE, successfully printed a centimeter-thick cultured beef structure for the first time. According to the firm, this development has brought it one step closer to develop high-throughput 3D tissue printing technology. To achieve this, Meat-Tech also plans to acquire cultured fat developer Peace of Meat to expand into the global protein alternatives market.
For the moment, 3D printed food seems to be more in line with academia, with 3D printing having been deployed to make meals safer and more appealing for people with swallowing disorders, and novel methods to 3D print cooked food being explored.
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Featured image shows a whole cut of Redefine Meat’s Alt-Meat Steak. Image via Redefine Meat.