Plant-based food company Green Monday Holdings, whose investors include filmmaker James Cameron and British photographer Mary McCarthy, raised US$70 million in a new funding round led by private equity firm giant TPG’s The Rise Fund and Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific.
It is the latest fundraising in the plant-based food space as investors in Asia this year bet on the future of the growing list of healthy alternatives for meat eaters.
Green Monday Holdings, part of Hong Kong’s Green Monday Group, said the fundraising was the largest of its kind in Asia to date and its fourth to date. The company operates OmniFoods, the maker of plant-based pork alternatives, and Green Common, an operator of plant-based food stores and restaurants.
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Investor and consumer interest in alternative protein products has skyrocketed this year against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about food safety sparked by African swine fever and other incidents, according to David Yeung, Green Monday Group’s co-founder and chief executive.
“It is very important for us to find partners that share the same mission,” Yeung told the Post. “We’re here to grow the business, but we’re equally here to grow the impact. We are trying to create [a] behaviour shift, [a] mindset shift and the overall awareness that we have a sustainability problem globally. From corporates to governments to individuals, we all have to make decisions in terms of changing mindsets and behaviours.”
New investors in this round included CPT Capital, Jefferies Group, Sino Group’s Ng Family Trust, Taiwanese-American pop star and actor Wang Leehom and Room to Read founder John Wood, according to Green Monday.
“Green Monday is one of the first movers in Asia within the rapidly growing global plant-based protein market,” Chang Sun, managing partner of TPG China, said in a statement. “In addition to developing a diverse portfolio of versatile meat alternatives, Green Monday has become Asia’s biggest wholesale plant-based product distributor to retail and food service partners.”
The company plans to use the proceeds to enhance its research and development efforts, expand its retail network and boost its production, distribution and supply chain capabilities. That includes its first production plant in southern China, Yeung said.
Green Monday is targeting expanding its operations to more than 20 markets globally and plans to open its first Green Common flagship store in mainland China in Shanghai by the end of the year and its first location in Singapore in the first quarter of next year, Yeung said.
The company also plans to increase its point-of-sale operations with retail partners from 20,000 to 40,000 in the next six months, Yeung said. The company counts Starbucks in mainland China and Family Mart in Taiwan among its retail partners.
Swire Pacific is already serving Green Monday’s OmniPork products on Cathay Pacific flights and is in discussions about potential retail offerings, according to David Cogman, development director at Swire Pacific.
“We are very excited about our partnership with David and Green Monday to develop new collaborations across our group companies, to make our shared vision a reality,” Cogman said in a statement.
The fundraising comes as plant-based protein alternatives are gaining traction with the public and investors across the globe.
Impossible Foods, the California plant-based burger maker, raised US$200 million in a fundraising round in August, after raising US$500 million earlier this year.
The company has raised about US$1.5 billion since its founding in 2011 and its Impossible burgers are now featured at fast food restaurants ranging from Burger King in the United States to Beef & Liberty in Hong Kong.
Impossible rival Beyond Meat went public in a blockbuster initial public offering in New York last year. Its shares are now worth six times the company’s IPO price of US$25 a share. Beyond Meat is now selling plant-based chicken products at KFC in the US.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong protein alternatives start-up eyes juicy cut of sector forecast to reach US$630 billion by 2040
- Hong Kong conglomerate Swire eyes market leadership in China’s bakery market