Australian fake-meat maker raises US$55 million from Goldman, Temasek

·3-min read
V2food Chief Executive Officer Nick Hazell. (PHOTO: V2food)
V2food Chief Executive Officer Nick Hazell. (PHOTO: V2food)

By Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s V2food has raised new equity from investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Singaporean state-owned investor Temasek Holdings in a deal that will help the maker of plant-based meat alternatives forge a presence in Asia.

The Sydney-based company has raised A$77 million (US$55 million) in series B funding from a group that also includes Chinese food producer Esenagro, investment bank China Renaissance Holdings Ltd.’s Huaxing Growth Capital, and investment firms ABC World Asia, Altitude Partners and Novel Investments, according to a spokesperson. The funds will join existing investors Horizons Ventures and Australian state-backed firm Main Sequence Ventures, the spokesperson said. The new round brings the total the company has raised to A$113 million.

V2food is among the growing number of mock-meat manufacturers looking for a foothold in Asia-Pacific. Investors witnessing the rapid innovation in plant-based alternatives by food technology startups as well as major food conglomerates are keen to participate.

“This is the moment for this industry, everyone realises this is going to happen, so there is a lot of capital looking for a home here,” V2food Chief Executive Officer Nick Hazell said in a phone interview.

The company is already making strides in Australia. Last month Woolworths Group Ltd., the country’s largest grocery retailer, began stocking V2food’s products in 600 of its stores.

“We want to be clear number one in Australia,” Hazell said. “And then we need to make a material difference in terms of meat consumption in other markets.”

New Markets

The latest funding round will help V2food cater for the demand for meat that Hazell expects to swell as population growth, and global wealth, accelerate -- demand that will need to be met by alternatives, he said.

“We need to double the meat industry globally by 2050. And we’re already against the planetary boundaries in terms of the meat we can physically produce,” he said.

By pushing into Asia, V2food will be competing with the likes of Nestle SA, which announced plans to build in China its first production facility in Asia for plant-based meat, as well as U.S.-based Beyond Meat Inc., which partnered with Yum China Holdings Inc. to introduce the Beyond Burger at select KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations in the country this year.

“Asia and China in particular are really important to us because that’s where there’s a job to be done to feed that country,” said Phil Morle, a partner at Main Sequence Ventures.

V2food was formed in January last year by a partnership between federal research agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, its venture arm Main Sequence and billionaire Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia Pty. The largest franchiser of restaurants in Australia, Competitive Foods runs more than 420 outlets under the Hungry Jack’s burger brand, according to its website.

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