Chunk Foods, a company making plant-based whole cuts of alternative protein, closed on another $7.5 million in seed extension funding amid a new strategic partnership with one of Latin America’s largest meat and dairy producers.
The partnership with meat and dairy producer Sigma Alimentos brings Chunk’s products to Latin America for the first time. Chunk will provide plant-based proteins for Sigma’s Better Balance product line. The products are expected to become available for foodservice and retail in Mexico this year.
We profiled Chunk Foods last April when the four-year-old company announced $15 million in seed funding from investors, including Fall Line Capital, The MIT E14 fund and FootPrint Coalition. The company develops whole cuts of steak-like filets using fermentation technology and food-grade microorganisms to turn soy and wheat into its proteins.
At the time, venture capital into the plant-based sector was booming. For example, No Meat Factory, Planetarians and ISH Company had all raised around the same time. Investment into that particular sector cooled off in 2023, yet this investment could likely be a catalyst for things to come.
Despite fewer VC dollars being invested in plant-based alternative proteins, Amos Golan, founder and CEO of Chunk Foods, remains optimistic, even calling 2023 “a breakout year for the industry” and his company.
“For a long time, the plant-based options on the market didn’t meet expectations in terms of taste or texture,” Golan told TechCrunch via email. “Another major change from the past year has been availability. Previously you’d only find a range of vegan options at a ‘vegan’ restaurant or perhaps a plant-based burger that was mediocre at a fast-casual establishment. This is now shifting.”
Food prices are also a big defining factor for consumers being willing to try new things. Chunk’s whole cuts are nearing parity with traditional animal products, Golan said.
In the past year, Chunk’s plant-based “steaks” have gone into traditional restaurants on the East Coast of the United States, including the Florida steakhouse chain Charley’s Steak House.
During the same period of time, the company doubled in size, opened a whole cut manufacturing facility and introduced two new SKUs: the six-ounce Steakhouse Cut steak and shredded Chunk steak.
In terms of the new investment, Cheyenne Ventures led the round, which brings the total seed round to $22 million. Chunk has now raised $24 million in total funding.
Golan plans to deploy the new funding into expanding its commercial and operations teams in the U.S. with the goal of obtaining nationwide distribution and increasing the number of local distribution partnerships. The company will also increase manufacturing capacity to meet customer demand.
Golan declined to share revenue growth and the company’s valuation, but did say the current valuation is higher than Chunk’s previous round.
“We have an incredible amount of market traction that the plant based space has not seen in a very long while and this has led to investment interest from existing and new investors,” Golan said. “It’s safe to say there’s confidence from investors in our vision, strong unit economics and the potential of plant-based whole cuts space as a whole.”
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