Yellow split peas, according to food entrepreneurs and scientists from Zurich, are taking center stage in the race to make the perfect fake meat. According to these innovators, sunflower oil, pea fiber, pea protein and water might just create pulled pork or chicken.
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Planted, a Zurich-based startup that uses the protein and fibers of yellow split peas to create mimic meat, and has partnerships in casual eateries as well as fine dining. The company just raised 7 million Swiss francs (approximately $7 million) in seed round, with investment from Blue Horizon Corporation, Hiltl, Good Seed Ventures, Mica Ventures, Joyance Partners, the ETH Zurich Foundation and some private investors.
Per a blog post, Planted will use the capital to scale production and research and development, as well as expand its alternate-meat offerings beyond Swiss markets. The uptart was founded just a few months ago, in June 2019, by Pascal Bieri, Lukas Böni, Eric Stirnemann, and Christoph Ianni.
The startup was spun out of the labs of ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. From there, it got funding from Venture Kick, part of Digital Switzerland’s startup program. In fact, according to the VK team, Planted met one of their VCs when catering a Venturelab barbeque this summer.
A Different Flavor
Instead of focusing on DTC, Planted has an emphasis on being incorporated into Swiss restaurants. Currently, it can be found in a range of restaurants from a Vietnamese eatery in Zurich to a fine dining spot in Lucerne.
We even stepped beyond the brands and looked at how innovation in fake meat is a global phenomenon resonating throughout the entire supply chain. So far it appears that once a startup learns how to find the sweet spot between processing and fermentation, the result is a meaty product with market potential. That’s tasty news to customers and investors alike.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias