Juicy Marbles gets $4.5M to sizzle up plant-based steaks

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It might be a little easier to persuade meat eaters to adopt a climate-friendly diet, thanks to a Slovenian startup juicy stone, which has come up with a way to cut down on plant-based whole meats, if that doesn’t sound too oxymoronic.

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‘Fancy Plant Meat’ is its pithier pitch for a product that aims to provide a vegetarian alternative to eating filet mignon steaks or other ‘prime’ cuts of (animal) meat.

The Ljubljana-based startup is announcing $4.5 million in seed enhancement to get its first share of prime plant protein in the market — starting with the aforementioned (vegan) filet mignon, which is slated for a Q1 2022 launch.

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Why Filet Mignon? It says this type of cut best showcases its proprietary “marbling technology.” It is also chosen filet mignon because the cut is considered the “crown jewel” of the (meat) steak.

Furthermore, there is relatively less competition at the premium end of the imitation meat market versus players churning out less fancy/more chopped alternative protein products such as burgers, sausages, bacon, chicken tenders, etc. So going big and chunky is one way to stand out in the sizzling alternative protein space.

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“We decided to start with filet mignon because it is the ‘crown jewel’ of the steak world, and it best showcases our marbling technique – which is what we would say is our clear and defined selling proposition, before We go on to other whole-cuts,” Juicy Marbles tells Nerdshala.

“We want to be known for our Sirloins, Rumps, Filets, Tomahawks, Vagis as well as our Filet Mignons – not just the most expensive cuts long term. Long term, we think we can make filet mignons more affordable. and want to make accessible, given its various economics being plant-based.”

What are you actually eating when you bite into Juicy Marbles Filet Mignon? The primary protein is soy – which the startup argues is both nutritious and environmentally sustainable.

“The wider issues with deforestation due to soy farming are related to our need to feed solely livestock – 97% of soy production goes to animal feed, and if all of our meat was plant-based then all of soy farming would Had the negative impacts vanished,” it suggests, “as a crop to feed humans, soy would require much less dense land-use for purely human consumption – far less dense land-use than is currently required for agricultural land.” less than a third.”

Soy is also versatile, with Juicy Marbles noting that it can be eaten in just about every way – from fresh to dried, plain, sprouted, ground, fermented, in yogurt form, as a sauce, in soups, desserts. or as a drink etc. — and, thus, being a “soy-focused food company,” it will have more flexibility in what it can cook.

Concepts in the works include soy-based tuna steak, for example. (Although, this won’t be the first time it will be on the market with an animal-free tuna option; see, for example, YC-backed Culliana.)

“Our business is based around the concept of protein texture—it’s the defining factor that draws people to steak compared to cheaper cuts. In the plant-based meat vertical, there hasn’t been as much innovation in the entire cut space, and No one has come close to inventing a steak that looks anything high-end,” it also tells us. “Given the need to offer carbon-based alternatives in this space as well, we believe That this is an opportunity untapped by our bigger rivals.”

Image credits: Juicy Stones

“If you look at plant-based products, the offers are currently limited to cheap cuts – for example, burgers, or sausage, or bacon – there are also chunks, i.e. chicken tenders or tins of tuna, but there are no Not a full-cut,” it adds.

Juicy Marbles is keeping the lid on so precisely that it’s capable of producing such a huge sliver of imitation meat (claiming that “many big food corporations are sneering” trying to figure out its protein marbling technology). are doing).

Though it says it will become more transparent over time – once it is able to ensure that its IP is secure.

It specifies that its plant steaks are not grown in a lab or 3D printed, saying it is using its patent-pending 3D assembly technology – which it claims can produce “premium, A5 grade cuts of meat”. , with full control”. Shape, texture, marbling, taste, aroma and nutrition”.

Of course the proof of all those claims will be in the food. But Juicy Marbles suggests that meat eaters should be prepared for both a “high-level marbling effect” and a “bold, rich flavor.”

And also by a price-tag that, at launch, will achieve “parity” with an “average-priced” filet mignon – and which it says will shrink so that the cost per steak will eventually (within 2-3 years “) Lets do it. Be the same as paying for more traditional cuts of meat.

On the added benefits front, Juicy Marbles points out that plant-based steaks use non-saturated fats and are lower in sodium versus meat counterparts—so there may be health reasons to consider switching to plant-based steaks. Huh. The future of life on Earth is not a big reason).

Its seed rounds are led by plantation search engines. EcosiaIs new world fund– A €350 million fund targeting startup manufacturing technology that can help decarbonize the planet whose launch we covered last month. (Jussy Marbles is the World Fund’s first investment.)

Commenting in a statement, the Fund’s General Partner, Denijel Visevic, said: “In recent years there has been a seismic shift towards plant-based alternatives, driven by a generation that is a real concern for the planet and their health. want to make up the difference. However, often they find poor choices, or they opt to go completely plant based because they are unwilling to give up small luxuries like whole shredded meat. The team at Juicy Marbles will deepen it. His realistic and thoughtful approach, combined with his technique – and appetite! – has seen him finally crack a huge piece of the plant-based puzzle. We’re excited to join him and see what happens in the months to come And how much of an impact they’ll have over the years.”

Other investors in the round are Eggfunders, as well as a number of angel investors from Y Combinator and Fitbit.

Jussie Marbles says the seed funding will be used to ramp up production so it can launch its first plant-based stake in the retail market.

It plans to sell to supermarkets, not just artisan grocers and restaurants. But says direct-to-consumer sales will be limited to special offers, because of the complexity of producing “planet-responsible” packaging for shipping perishable goods to individual consumers.

It also plans to further expand its R&D efforts, including expanding its team and developing new reductions.

“It’s all a learning cycle, so with the next round we can set up a huge plant meat factory for large scale operations and further reduce the price of plant-based meat.”

And in case you’re curious, the founding team — Luka Sinsek, Major Horovat, Tylan Travnik and Vladimir Miskovic — includes both vegetarians and meat eaters.

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