Leonardo DiCaprio Invests In 2 Cultured Meat Companies, And 5 More Vegan Business Updates

From record-breaking investments to global distributions, here's the latest business news...


5 Minutes Read

The award-winning actor wants to help shake up the global food system. - Media Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The plant-based and cruelty-free business sector is changing all the time, with new investors keen to partake and vegan companies eager to grow.

Here are the latest updates in the vegan and cultured meat business scene.

Leonardo DiCaprio invests in cultured meat to ‘reshape’ global food system

Leonardo DiCaprio has updated his investment portfolio once again, this time placing his support behind Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat. 

In 2013, Mosa Meat introduced the world’s first hamburger made from cultured meat. And Aleph Farms is behind the world’s first cultured steak and ribeye, which debuted in 2018 and 2021 respectively. 

Cultured meat – also called cell-based, cultivated, or clean meat – is grown from animal cells in a lab. The technology produces meat that is identical to conventional meat on a cellular level, but can be created without slaughtering animals. 

In a statement sent to PBN, DiCaprio said: “One of the most impactful ways to combat the climate crisis is to fundamentally reshape our global food system. Mosa Meat pioneered a cleaner, kinder way of making real beef with the world’s first cultivated beef burger in 2013.”

“Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms offer new ways to satisfy the world’s demand for beef, while solving some of the most pressing issues of current industrial beef production,” the Academy Award-winning actor added.

“I’m honored to join them as advisor and investor as they now prepare to bring cultivated beef to market for all those who crave change,” he also said.

GOOD Meat’s latest investment brings total to record-breaking $267 million 

Food tech company Eat Just has announced that its cultured meat division, GOOD Meat, has raked in US$97 million in funding. The company raised $170 million in May, bringing its total to $267 million overall. 

According to Food Ingredients First, this total marks the largest amount ever raised in the cultured meat sector. 

Josh Tetrick, Co-founder and CEO at Eat Just, commented: “I’m proud to see our company take the next step toward building large-scale cultivated meat production.”

He added that the funds will allow the company to ramp up its presence in ‘multiple regions around the world’. 

GOOD Meat is paving the way in the cultured chicken sector, as well as the wider slaughter-free meat industry. On its website, the company claims it is the ‘first and only company in the world’ selling cultured meat. 

And earlier this month, Eat Just announced plans to build the first-ever cultured meat facility in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region. 

Dairy-free food brand Ripple Foods bags $60 million investment

The brand uses pea protein to create plant-based dairy products. Credit: Ripple Foods

Dairy-free food brand Ripple Foods has scooped up $60 million in a Series E funding round. 

Rage Capital, Ajax Strategies, and S2G Ventures led the round. Additionally, OurCrowd, GV, Prelude Ventures, Euclidean, Fall Line Capital, and Tao Capital Partners partook. 

Ripple Foods uses yellow pea protein to produce creamy vegan milk, protein shakes, half and half, and frozen desserts. The brand’s products have half the sugar of cow’s milk and 50 percent more calcium, according to a press release.

Laura Flanagan, CEO of Ripple Foods, commented: “This capital raise will enable us to accelerate innovation and growth across product categories, and expand into new channels and global markets.

“It allows us to further achieve our mission of making plant-based foods that are better for people, and better for the planet, on an even larger scale.”

OmniFoods’ vegan spam and mince launches at 1,000 Australian supermarkets

Hong-Kong based food brand OmniFoods is set to boost its presence in Australia. OmniFoods creates vegan meat out of shiitake mushrooms, non-GMO soy, peas, and rice. 

The company is launching its plant-based spam and pork mince at nearly 1,000 Woolworths stores. Woolworths is the largest supermarket chain in Australia. 

Last month, OmniFoods launched its products in the US retail sector for the first time. Nearly 200 Whole Foods Markets in 16 states and 371 Sprouts Farmers Markets in 23 states welcomed OmniFoods’ vegan pork.

This brought the company’s distribution to around 40,000 point of sale locations around the world.

Plant-based ingredients company Roquette to open 2,000 sq. m R&D center

Plant-based ingredients company Roquette is forking out £11 million (US$12.9 million) to open a 2,000-square-meter R&D center in Vic-Sur-Aisne, France.

The company will use the center to develop new technological processes, test new ingredients and improve existing ones.

Roqeutte has manufactured and sold protein ingredients made from yellow split peas, corn, wheat, and potato. Further, it plans on introducing multiple new protein options every five years. 

“Being a global player in plant proteins requires both to build on experience and to invest in future innovations. Developing plant proteins is one thing and adapting those developments to the needs of the customers and consumers is another,” Jeremy Burks, Senior Vice President of Plant Proteins at Roquette, said in a statement.

Burks added that the new center will bring the company’s ‘innovation up to a new level’. 

“We are positioned to respond to what customers need as we strive to be the best partner for food innovators,” he added.

Vegan seafood company Sophie’s Kitchen raises $5.6 million

Sophie’s Kitchen produces vegan crab, shrimp, tuna, and more. Credit: Sophie’s Kitchen

Plant-based seafood brand Sophie’s Kitchen is set to ramp up production following an investment of $5.6 million. Canadian venture capital platform Billy Goat Brands led the round. 

Sophie’s Kitchen develops vegan crab cakes, fish fillets, shrimp, smoked salmon, and tuna. Its products are gluten-, soy-, GMO-, and preservative-free. 

Sophie’s Kitchen intends to use the investment to develop new products and increase distribution. 

“We at Sophie’s Kitchen believe in the same mission – to save lives and protect the planet, one meal at a time,” Sophie’s Kitchen CEO, Dr. Miles Woodruff, said in a statement. 

“The best way to achieve this goal is to create plant-based foods craved by vegans and meat-lovers alike, while making our products accessible to consumers so they can also join our mission for change.”

Tony Harris, Chair and CEO of Billy Goat Brands, said the company ‘believes’ in Sophie’s Kitchen’s mission – to make vegan food widely accessible while increasing transparency and using cleaner ingredients.

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