- Atlast Meals Co., which makes options to bacon out of mushroom mycelium by means of its MyEats model, raised $40 million to develop and provide whole-cut meat options to companions worldwide by means of growth and scaling its know-how. Atlast President Stephen Lomnes stated the corporate is at the moment constructing the nation’s largest mycelium manufacturing facility.
- Viking World Buyers led the funding spherical. It was joined by 40 North, AiiM Companions, Senator Funding Group, Stray Canine Capital and the Footprint Coalition. Leaders and founders from completely different meals and CPG corporations, together with Applegate, Stonyfield and Entire Meals, additionally participated.
- Atlast is considered one of a handful of corporations that use mushroom mycelium — the fungus’ lengthy roots — to make complete lower meat options as a substitute of the bottom varieties made by most plant-based meat corporations. The corporate’s MyBacon has been available on the market within the space close to its Albany, New York, dwelling since final November, and Atlast stated in a press launch it’s working with main manufacturers to produce MyBacon at industrial scale.
Whereas the extruded floor beef, sausages, nuggets, patties and fish items that make up most of in the present day’s meat various choices are rising in recognition and gross sales, there are few choices for options to complete cuts of meat.
By rising and harvesting mycelium, Atlast has developed a method to make a full slab of its product that may be sliced and become the bacon various. Atlast says the product appears like meat as a result of the mycelium fibers develop collectively in a means much like animal tissue. It takes simply 10 days to supply the bacon various, which is clear label and has solely six components: mushroom mycelium, refined coconut oil, cane sugar, salt, smoky flavors and beet juice.
And although Atlast is at the moment a really small participant, this funding offers the corporate not simply the means to broaden however some key backing to validate its skill to create a convincing meat substitute.
“I’ve spent the final thirty years working to deliver sustainable meat to customers across the nation. The Atlast group is advancing that mission for the twenty first century to offer in the present day’s manufacturers and customers new plant primarily based options that mimic the feel and taste of complete lower meats,” Applegate Farms founder Stephen McDonnell stated in a written assertion.
Applegate Farms, which began in 1987 as a maker of pure meat merchandise, is now owned by Hormel. And whereas the funding shouldn’t be from the bigger firm, the very fact the founding father of a mission-based meat model is endorsing Atlast speaks volumes in regards to the firm’s potential for meat substitute. And that potential is underscored by funding from natural dairy Stonyfield founder Gary Hirshberg — whose firm is now owned by Lactalis and nonetheless has not dabbled into plant-based options — and Entire Meals founder Walter Robb, who is aware of what sort of plant-based merchandise customers search.
Whereas Atlast’s product line is proscribed to bacon proper now, the corporate has lengthy been experimenting with creating analogs of other forms of meat. Eben Bayer, the co-founder and CEO of mycelium product firm Ecovative Design, which spun off Atlast in 2020, defined the method a bit final 12 months in an interview with Musings journal. Mycelium will be grown to have completely different textures and flavors, Bayer stated. Along with bacon, Atlast has experimented with mycelium variations of hen breast, oysters and ahi tuna. At a 2019 Ecovative occasion, Nick Ruscitto — then government chef at an upscale native bistro, who’s now Atlast’s government chef and culinary visionary — helped the corporate serve a five-course dinner to potential traders that used mycelium for each course.
Atlast shouldn’t be alone on this area. Colorado-based Meati Meals is also creating complete cuts of meat from mycelium, although the corporate’s founder and CEO instructed Meals Navigator it used a distinct course of than Atlast. Meati has focused on mycelium steaks, and raised $28 million final fall to assist it broaden its group and construct a manufacturing facility. Meati instructed the commerce publication it anticipated to start out with direct-to-consumer merchandise, after which probably a retail launch this 12 months.