20/02/2023 – Ingredients / Plant-based / Meala / Foodtech / DSM / Pre-seed / Investment / Alt-protein
Meala FoodTech secures US$1.9m in pre-seed round
With prominent backers including DSM Venturing and The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, functional protein platform developer Meala is on mission to clean labels and improve plant-based foods.
Israeli start-up Meala FoodTech Ltd – the developer of a functional protein platform – announces the close of US$1.9m in pre-seed investment. The round was led by The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, part of The Strauss-Group and DSM Venturing (the corporate venture arm of the Dutch multinational Royal DSW, with the additional participation of Milk & Honey Ventures. Specialising in alt-protein investments, DSM Venturing’s contribution to Meala’s pre-seed round marks its third investment in the Israeli food-tech ecosystem in 2022.
On a clean label mission
While the plant-based category continues to gain momentum, alt-protein food formulators still struggle to improve the labels and mouthfeel of their products to match traditional, animal-based counterparts. Currently, popular meat alternatives – such as veggie burgers and sausages – typically contain a long list of ingredients, some with complex chemical names unfamiliar to consumers.
Meala FoodTech is on a mission to revolutionise the plant-based protein industry by developing new ingredients and processes that allow the creation of cleaner, better-for-you, products.
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 flavour. Meala’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 analogues with better nutritional value and functional properties using a short list of ingredients as in real meat.
Getting closer and faster to the market
“We are excited to complete this investment round with the support of leading investors,” noted Hadar Razmovich, CEO and co-founder of Meala FoodTech. “This achievement reflects the investors’ trust in our technology and R&D team of experts. “There is a significant need in the plant-based industry to effectively reduce undesirable ingredients and clean up labels. This investment will help us get closer and faster to the market, better address the companies’ specific needs and provide affordable, smarter solutions.”
Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, remarked that his company was exciting to support Meala on its important mission to improve plant-based foods, “making them tastier, more nutritious, and with readily recognisable ingredients,” as he put it. “This is another milestone in our quest to nourish a better tomorrow, and we are honoured to have a leading entity such as DSM Venturing co-invest with us in such a promising company.”
The new funding will initially go towards continuing the development of Meala’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, nuggets with egg and fish alternatives in development.
“This investment will enable us to accelerate our growth and support plant-based producers in their mission to reach new consumer segments,” stated Dr Tali Feldman Sivan, PhD, co-founder of Meala. “We 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.”
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 flavour and texture of real meat. The platform works with a versatile range of plant proteins. Moreover, the Meala solution can be easily integrated into CPG products through existing manufacturing lines.
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