Al Gore, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates are some of the major names backing Nature Fund. The startup develops meatless burgers and dairy-free cheeses and chicken-less nuggets using a fermented volcanic microbe from Yellowstone National Park.
The Chicago-based company has raised $158m in funding from several prominent investors. It plans to release its products next year. It will be adding to the $7 billion alt-meat markets, which is already led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
Mark Kozubal and Thomas Jonas co-founded Nature’s Fynd in 2012. They were originally known as Sustainable Bioproducts. Kozubal was an early researcher who had discovered a microbe in Yellowstone National Park’s volcanic hot springs called Fusarium strain Flavolapis.
Kozubal and his team of scientists transformed the microbe into “Fy,” a protein-rich substance that is now the basis for their food products.
Nature’s Fynd claims that its volcanic microbe-derived protein contains all 20 amino acids and has no cholesterol or trans fats. Fy contains a tenth the amount of fat as ground beef and fifty percent more protein than that of tofu.
Allowing the transition away from traditional meat production
Nature’s Fynd is currently building a 35,000-square foot (3,251 sq. meters) factory on the former Union Stockyards site in Chicago. This symbolic move represents the transition away from traditional meat production. The Union Stockyards were once a major point in the 20th-century meatpacking industry.
The transition is underway. According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, Alt-Meat Industry exploded last year with a 27 percent increase in US retail sales. This brought its total market to $7 billion.
Redefine Meat in Israel, which 3D prints “all steaks”, and Perfect Day in California, which uses 3D printing and fermentation, are two other companies that have taken advantage of the rising demand for alt-meats.
All of this is a step towards combating climate change. Alt-meats have already significantly reduced the environmental impact of purchasing food, compared to traditional meat products.
Impossible Foods released the results of a Lifecycle Assessment Report by Quantis in 2019. It showed that the Impossible Burger consumed 96 percent less land and 87 percent more water and produced 89 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
The consumer will lead a lot of this effort. Will enough people make the switch to alt-meats?