Prime Roots scores US$30M in series B funding to scale plant-based deli meats
15 May 2023 --- Berkeley-based Prime Roots, a plant-based innovator who uses koji mycelium in its products, has netted US$30 million in series B funding, bringing their total funding to approximately US$50 million. This latest financing will enable the company to scale and expand to deli counters and restaurants in the US.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Kimberlie Le, Founder and CEO of Prime Roots, explains what drove the company to develop plant-based deli meats.
“There were no freshly sliced plant-based offerings in the deli case, and Prime Roots is the first of its kind plant-based bulk deli meat offering behind the glass to be sliced. The market for deli meats is huge in the US, with 300 million sandwiches eaten daily.”
The company’s deli meats are available at select retailers and restaurants in California, US.
“The fresh funding will help us expand nationally and is a testament to the market opportunity for the next generation of plant-based meats that meet consumer expectations while forging into old world categories like deli with disruptive innovation.”
Getting the most out of Koji
Aspergillus oryzae, also known as Koji mold, is a filamentous fungus.
Getting the texture perfect using Koji took time to develop, reveals Le, adding that now that the company has perfected the ability to modulate textures, there are so many future product opportunities across all meat and seafood types.
“In addition, as part of making deli meats, we had to innovate in fat technologies as well to be able to replicate the right mouthfeel and culinary functionality of different products.”
“We are the first of its kind freshly sliced plant-based deli meat offering at the deli counter/behind the glass,” underscores Le. “We are reimagining the deli case and focusing there to offer sandwich eaters a better choice that combines great taste, nutrition and sustainability.”
Using Koji, a mycelium like the roots of mushrooms, the umami taste, protein and meat texture is replicated naturally. She adds that the taste and texture is just like the deli meat you know and love, just better for you and the planet.
Prime Roots plant-based deli meat is clean with no preservatives, artificial flavors, soy, wheat, allergens, cholesterol or GMOs.
Koji is the first ingredient in all of Prime Roots’ deli and charcuterie meats.
The products were made for slicing just like conventional deli meat, so you can have it shaved thin or thick cut and serve it warm or cold – there are so many applications from sandwiches to pizzas, and it is a 1-1 replacement for deli meat, adds Le.
Tackling the deli case
Through its innovative and proprietary fermentation and food science technology, Prime Roots is the first and only company tackling the deli case with the identical microscopic texture of meat and its umami taste made from plants.
Acclaimed chefs helped develop popular deli products – including cracked pepper turkey, black forest ham, hickory bacon, salami and pepperoni, to emulate the savory, meaty taste and texture consumers demand from meat substitutes. Plus, nutritionally, Prime Roots’ products have no nitrates, preservatives, cholesterol, soy, wheat and are lower in sodium than other brands.
In line with its mission to sustainably satisfy meat cravings with better-tasting food, it only takes three to five days to make Prime Roots’ deli meats, compared to years for some conventional meats.
A third-party impact life cycle assessment found that Prime Roots’ methods are 89-92% more sustainable than conventional meats by limiting emissions and land usage.
“People are asking for sustainable meat options that taste good, make them feel good and do good with less planet impact. Prime Roots delivers on all three: taste, nutrition and sustainability,” states Le.
Retail partners report that Prime Roots’ deli meat consistently sells out before lunch, and sales are pacing at five to ten times higher than other plant-based alternatives, the company notes.
“We are rapidly expanding distribution and entering new markets, scaling manufacturing and our team. We aim to be an option in all places where deli meats are served – whether in grocery deli counters or foodservice,” Le concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.