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Food tech roundup: Plant-based protein eaters still want it to taste like meat

If you’re adventurous with your food, or just like to keep up with the fast-moving food tech industry, here’s a roundup of TechCrunch stories and some notable news we weren’t able to cover.

Plant-based protein finds a plate in foodservice

The Good Food Institute last week unveiled some insights around plant-based proteins being used in foodservice. Here are some highlights:

  • 2022 was a strong year: U.S. broadline distributor sales of plant-based proteins reached $304 million in 2022, an increase of 8% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

  • Anything that tastes like animal-based meat is “in”: Analog plant-based proteins -- those that most closely mimic the taste and texture of animal-based meat -- accounted for 53% of the pound sales in 2022, up from 39% in 2019.

  • Plant-based protein buyers come again and again: Buyers of plant-based meat tend to be high-value buyers, making about 30 more trips to foodservice locations per year, and spending approximately $400 more than the average buyer.

Taste is something that continues to be a challenge. Over the past year, we reported on plant-based companies working on that, including Black Sheep Foods, Rebellyous, Planetarians, Chunk Foods and the ISH Company.

As seen in TechCrunch

Mycoprotein producer Enough raises €40M toward doubling its production capacity

Making protein out of mushrooms is not a new concept; however, Enough believes its technology — and the ability to scale production quickly — will set it apart. The Scotland-based company grabbed €40 million ($43.5 million) in new growth funding this month to test out that theory.

Meatable sinks its teeth into $35M to accelerate launch of its cultivated pork products

Another European company, Meatable, brought in $35 million to continue developing its pork products. Most recently, the company boasted an ability to slash the production time it takes to make fat and muscle from three weeks to eight days. This is due to its technology and production size — it is currently able to reach 500-liter bioreactors and grow cells at 80 million cells per milliliter.

What else I’m reading

Some fresh catch: Sustainable seafood startups are the catch of the day. Indeed, read more about Bluu Seafood and Aqua Cultured Foods. Investors also had a little something to say.

Yummy to baby’s tummy: Maolac combines AI with breastmilk to make tummies feel better. Catch up on what Maolac does here.

Nothing cheesy about this: New Culture successfully scales fermentation process to manufacturing volumes. Check out some past TechCrunch coverage of New Culture.

All about the cows: Questions for Omeat’s cow plasma extraction farm. Read about Omeat coming out of stealth this year.

If you have a juicy tip or lead about happenings in the venture and food tech worlds, you can reach Christine Hall at chall.techcrunch@gmail.com or Signal at 832-862-1051. Anonymity requests will be respected.