Plant-Based Food Tech Startup Motif FoodWorks Raises $226M In Series B Round

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The Boston-based food technology startup Motif FoodWorks has brought in $226 million in funding in its recent Series B round. The new round increases the total funding it has received to date to $345 million. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board led the round through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP) alongside funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. New investors for the round included Wittington Ventures, Rethink Food, Rage Capital, Aiim Partners, and Rellevant Partners. A number of existing investors also joined the round, including Viking Global Investors, Louis Dreyfus Company, General Atlantic, CPT Capital, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Motif FoodWoorks specializes in plant-based foods, specifically in developing ingredients that can be added to meat and dairy analogues in order to improve the taste and texture of these products. The company is applying science and technology to find methods of replicating things like the melt and stretch of animal-derived cheese and also the marbling of fat that happens in meat.

The argument being made by Motif FoodWorks is that while there have been vast improvements made in plant-based foods, many consumers still prefer the taste and texture of products that come from animals. The company is aiming to create the ingredients that will make plant-based products equal or even more desirable than animal products. This approach makes a lot of sense. Meat and dairy production is a carbon-intensive industry and we need to reduce meat consumption globally in order to bring down carbon emissions. The majority of people are meat eaters, and if they can be swayed to choose a less carbon intensive plant-based product instead of an animal-derived product, then this will be a big step on our road to a carbon-free future.

The market for plant-based foods has ballooned in size in recent years. In 2020, the retail sales of plant-based foods reached a massive $7 billion, which was a 27% increase on sales for the previous year. It’s clearly a growth sector with many plant-based companies attracting significant investment. Atlast Foods just secured $40 million in funding to produce plant-based versions of whole-cut meats, and of course Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are continuing to make headlines.

Motif will be using the new funding to increase its R&D capabilities, to expand its facilities, to bring more people into the fold, and to scale and commercialize its food technology.

Jonathan McIntyre, CEO of Motif FoodWorks, gave an insight into the company direction:

“Plant-based foods have the potential to unlock enormous benefits for people and the planet, but that will only happen if they live up to, or even exceed, what consumers expect from animal-based counterparts. With support from our investors, we’re advancing the understanding of food science and design to make plant-based foods better tasting, more nutritious and so desirable that people actually crave them.”

The senior managing director of the Teachers’ Innovation Platform, Olivia Steedman, explained why investing in Motif was important for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board: “Making plant-based foods taste great will increase the global appetite for this sector. As people increasingly look to meat and dairy alternatives, Motif offers breakthrough solutions powered by leading technology, deep scientific expertise and a visionary management team.”

Image courtesy Motif FoodWorks

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