Juicy Marbles gets $4.5M to sizzle up plant-based steaks – TechCrunch

Convincing meat eaters to undertake a climate-friendly weight-reduction plan would possibly get a bit simpler thanks to Slovenian startup Juicy Marbles, which has come up with a method to create plant-based entire meat cuts, if that doesn’t sound too oxymoronic.

‘Fancy Plant Meat’ is its pithier pitch for a product that goals to present a vegan various to consuming a filet mignon steak or different ‘prime’ cuts of (animal) flesh.

The Ljubljana-based startup is saying a $4.5 million in seed elevate to get its first hunk of prime plant protein to market — beginning with the aforementioned (vegan) filet mignon, which is slated for a Q1 2022 launch.

Why filet mignon? It says such a lower finest exhibits off its proprietary “marbling technology”. It’s additionally picked filet mignon as a result of the lower is taken into account the “crown jewel” of (meat) steaks.

Plus, there’s comparatively little competitors on the premium finish of the pretend meat market vs scores of gamers churning out much less fancy/extra chopped up various protein merchandise reminiscent of burgers, sausages, bacon, chicken tenders and so forth. So going large and chunky is a method to stand out within the scorching various protein house.

“We’ve decided to begin with the filet mignon because it is the ‘crown jewel’ of the steak world, and it showcases our marbling technology best — which we would say is our clear and defining selling proposition, before we move onto other whole-cuts,” Juicy Marbles tells TechCrunch.

“We want to be known for our sirloins, rumps, filets, tomahawks, wagyus, as well as for our filet mignons — not just the most expensive cuts long-term. Long-term, our view is that we want to make filet mignon more affordable and accessible, given the different economics of it being plant-based.”

What are you really chowing down on when/in case you chunk right into a Juicy Marbles filet mignon? The major protein is soy — which the startup argues is each nutritious and environmentally sustainable.

“Wider issues with soy farming causing deforestation are solely related to our need to feed animal livestock — 97% of soy production goes to animal feed, and if all of our meat was plant-based all the negative effects of soy farming would simply disappear,” it suggests, including: “As a crop to feed humans, much less dense land-usage would be required for soya for purely human consumption – likely less than a third of the farming land currently required.”

Soya can be versatile, with Juicy Marbles noting that it may be eaten in all types of how — from recent to dried, plain, sprouting, floor, fermented, as curd, as a sauce, in soup, as a dessert or a drink and so forth — and, thus, by being a “soya-centric food company” it’ll subsequently have larger flexibility in what it could prepare dinner up.

Concepts within the works embody a soy-based tuna steak, for instance. (Albeit, it will not be first to market with an animal-free tuna substitute; see, for e.g., YC-backed Kuleana.)

“Our business is based around the concept of protein texture — this is the defining factor that draws people to steak, when compared to a cheaper cut. In the plant-based meat vertical, there has not been as much innovation in the whole cuts space, and no one has come close to inventing a steak that resembles anything high-end,” it additionally tells us. “Given the need to decarbonise/offer a plant-based alternative in this space as well, we believe this is an immense opportunity untapped by our bigger rivals.”

Image Credits: Juicy Marbles

“If you look at the plant-based products out there, the offers are currently limited to cheaper cuts — for example, the burger, or sausages, or bacon — there are also chunks, i.e. chicken tenders or tins of tuna, but there are no whole-cuts,” it provides.

Juicy Marbles is protecting the lid on precisely the way it’s in a position to produce such giant slaps of faux meat (claiming “numerous big food corporations snooping around” attempting to determine its protein marbling tech).

Although it says will probably be extra clear in time — as soon as it’s in a position to guarantee its IP is protected.

It does specify that its plant steaks should not grown in a lab or 3D printed, saying it’s utilizing its personal patent-pending 3D meeting expertise — which it claims permits it to create “premium, A5 grade cuts of meat, with full control over the shape, texture, marbling, flavours, aromas and nutrition”.

Of course the proof of all these claims can be within the consuming. But Juicy Marbles suggests meat eaters ought to put together to be wowed — each by the “high-level marbling effect” and “bold, rich flavour”.

And additionally by a price-tag that, at launch, will obtain “parity” with an “average-priced” filet mignon — and which it says will shrink in order that the fee per steak will in the end (“within 2-3 years”) be akin to paying for a extra typical lower of meat.

On the added advantages entrance, Juicy Marbles factors out that plant-based steaks use non-saturated fat and are low in sodium vs meat equivalents — so there could also be well being causes to take into account switching to plant-based steaks (y’know, if the way forward for life on Earth isn’t a sufficiently big cause).

Its seed spherical is led by tree-planting search engine Ecosia‘s new World Fund— a €350 million fund targeting startups building tech that can help decarbonize the planet whose launch we covered last month. (Juicy Marbles is World Fund’s first funding.)

Commenting in an announcement, Danijel Visevic, common associate on the fund, mentioned: “There has been a seismic shift in recent years towards plant-based alternatives, driven by a generation who want to make a real difference to the planet and their health. However, so often they’re met with poor substitutes, or they resist going fully plant-based because they’re not ready to give up on little luxuries, like whole cut meats. The team at Juicy Marbles acutely understands this. Their realistic and considered approach, combined with their technology — and appetites! — has seen them finally crack a major piece of the plant-based puzzle. We’re excited to join them and witness just how much of an impact they’re due to make in the months and years to come.”

Other buyers within the spherical are Agfunder, together with quite a lot of angel buyers from Y Combinator and Fitbit.

Juicy Marbles says the seed funding can be used to scale manufacturing so it could launch its first plant-based steaks into the retail market.

It’s planning to promote to supermarkets, not simply artisanal grocers and eating places. But says direct to shopper gross sales can be restricted to particular gives solely owing to the complexity of manufacturing “planet-responsible” packaging for transport perishable items to particular person shoppers.

It’s additionally planning to increase its crew and additional beef up R&D efforts, together with on growing new cuts.

“All of it is a learning cycle, so with the next round we can set up a gigafactory of plant meat to scale operations and further reduce the price of plant-based meat,” it provides.

And in case you’re curious, the founding crew — Luka Sinček, Maj Hrovat, Tilen Travnik and Vladimir Mićković — consists of each vegans and meat eaters.

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