Meala FoodTech scores US$1.9M in pre-seed round to propel alternative proteins
09 Feb 2023 --- Israel-based Meala FoodTech has closed a US$1.9 million pre-seed investment, partially backed by DSM Venturing. The new funding will go toward continuing the development of the company’s platform technology and accelerate from lab to pilot scale.
The start-up’s core technology enables the development of functional proteins for multiple meat replacements, including burgers, sausages and nuggets, with egg and fish alternatives also in development.
Meala FoodTech wants to “revolutionize the plant-based protein industry” by developing new ingredients and processes to create cleaner, better-for-you products.
The latest round was led by The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, part of The Strauss Group and DSM Venturing, the corporate venture arm of Dutch multinational Royal DSM, with participation of Milk & Honey Ventures, specializing in alt-protein investments. DSM Venturing’s contribution marked its third investment in the Israeli food-tech ecosystem in 2022.
Technical hurdles to overcome
While the plant-based category continues to gain momentum, alt-protein food formulators still need help to improve the labels and mouthfeel of their products to match traditional, animal-based counterparts.
Popular meat alternatives, such as vegetarian burgers and sausages, typically contain a long list of ingredients, some with complex chemical names unfamiliar to consumers. According to the company, Meala’s multi-functional proteins vastly improve the texture of meat alternatives to more compellingly mimic the organoleptic qualities of real meat and deliver a more full-bodied flavor.
The start-up’s proprietary platform creates functional proteins designed to be used as binding and gelling agents thanks to their superior water retention capabilities. The platform enables formulators to boost meat analogs with better nutritional value and functional properties using a short list of ingredients as in real meat.
“There is a significant need in the plant-based industry to reduce undesirable ingredients and clean up labels effectively. This investment will help us get closer and faster to the market, better address the companies’ specific needs and provide affordable, smarter solutions,” says Hadar Razmovich, CEO and Meala co-founder.
“It is exciting to support Meala on this important mission to improve plant-based foods, making them tastier, more nutritious, and with readily recognizable ingredients,” expresses Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub.
“This is another milestone in our quest to nourish a better tomorrow, and we are honored to have a leading entity such as DSM Venturing co-invest with us in such a promising company.”
Accelerating growth in plant-based
Dr. Tali Feldman Sivan, co-founder of Meala, says the investment will enable the company to accelerate its growth and support plant-based producers in their mission to reach new consumer segments.
“We have already initiated collaborations with leading plant-based CPG manufacturers to implement Meala’s solution in their products. We are on track to launch products in the US and European markets in 2024,” Sivan notes.
Meala’s vision for plant-based alternatives is to have a short list of simple, recognizable “home kitchen” ingredients while delivering the same full-bodied flavor and texture of real meat. The platform works with a versatile range of plant proteins. According to the company, the Meala solution can be easily integrated into CPG products through existing manufacturing lines.
Last September, Meala broke new ground in cleaning up labels in meat analogs using its vegetable protein.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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