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Tech innovation to help expand fuel plant-based boom, claims Planted after successful fund raise

The Swiss company has just successfully closed its Series B financing round of CHF70 million francs (EUR71 million). The round was led by L Catterton, the biggest global private equity firm in the buyer goods sector.

Planted currently produces alternative chicken pieces, pulled pork and kebab meat, and breaded schnitzel offered by 4,200 retailers and over 3,000 restaurants across three regional markets.

Coming on the trunk of the 36 million Swiss francs raised in 2021, Planted use the most recent funding to launch a fresh type of products for so-called whole cuts, like a plant-based chicken white meat, along with further international expansion and increased production capacity. The merchandise will be open to the foodservice industry first, with retail to check out shortly thereafter.

Planted co-founder Christoph Jenny said the business has “a solid track record inside our established yet young markets in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France and good early development in new markets like the UK and Italy. With the excess capital, we shall further accelerate our international growth, expand our product range with a newline of Whole Cut products and build another production facility.”

planted.chicken Breast_whole

Planted’s alternative whole chicken white meat

IP key to maintaining growth trajectory

With commentators suggesting the explosive growth in European plant-based protein sales witnessed recently could be levelling out, the business is stressing its proprietary IP protected technology will undoubtedly be key to its growth ambitions.

“Current plant-based meat technologies and solutions aren’t with the capacity of replacing several to three percent of meat consumption and for that reason don’t have the necessary effect on our food system, said Jenny. Consumers justify this with too little taste, an unattractive price and questionable ingredients. To be able to convince meat eaters aswell, it is very important that people produce ‘better meat than animal meat’ and provide an improved taste experience and a lesser price with less environmental impact and good ingredients.”

Within an treat it describes as biostructuring, the business is combining two ways to bring improved taste and texture to meat alternatives. First it employs high-moisture extrusion to provide structure to the proteins. A fermentation process then follows. This proprietary technology will enable Planted to build up larger cuts of meat with complex structure, texture, juiciness and tenderness.

Individuals are looking for various kinds of textures and tastes, Dr. Judith Wemmer, Executive Committee Member at Planted, told FoodNavigator. If you believe about steak, chicken pieces and a sausage, the textures are super diverse, hence there’s not just a single technology that allows one to produce that full selection of meat products. Weve mastered high moisture extrusion, that allows us to create fibrous, muscle-like structures with few ingredients. And within the last two years we’ve invested massively in biotechnology.

While high moisture extrusion is really a purely physical chemical process where heat and shear-cell technology are likely involved to create a structure, she explained, microorganisms which have metabolisms can make more technical materials. The complex structure of alternative meat can benefit from these more technical technologies, we were told. We have been combining our expertise in creating amazing fibres with this expertise in biotechnology to create a broader selection of products going from just chicken pieces to bigger whole cuts. In addition, it we can have more complexity in the texture and taste, more juiciness and potentially also health advantages too by attracting different types of micronutrients into the products.

The procedure relies on just a couple ingredients. Planteds alternative meat range uses peas, oats and sunflower oil. Its latest whole cut chicken alternative uses pea protein, pea fibre, canola oil and water and extra vitamin B12.

While you can find questions marks concerning the healthiness of canola oil, Planteds process doesnt employ any hydrogenation. The primary reason we use canola is that people source it locally in Switzerland, where it’s obtainable in high quantities, explained Wemmer. Healthy nutrition starts with deciding on the best recycleables, she added. Inside our pulled pork for instance we combine a legume source, an oilseed source and a cereal source, gives us a whole amino acid profile. So choosing these right recycleables may be the base, then your processing of the raw materials can transform bioavailability and the nutritional profile.

Counteracting rising material prices

Price-wise, the brand currently sits between free range chicken and organic chicken. But Planted believes that it could bring this price down later on, claiming biostructured proteins can outperform meat with regards to taste, sustainability, health, efficiency and price.

We have been along the way of our scaling our operations and coming better with this operations, said Wemmer. We’ve digitalised and automated our production a whole lot that allows us to operate a vehicle down material costs while raw material prices have risen. We are able to counteract that because we don’t depend on a co-manufacturer. That is also means we are able to tune products to advertise needs.

Planted produces all products at the moment in the production facility in Kemptthal. IN-MAY 2022, the business announced that the production capacity here have been doubled to over one ton of plant meat each hour.

Planted_Executive Board_f.r.t.l_Pascal Bieri Judith Wemmer Christoph Jenny Lukas Böni

Planted’s Executive Board (from to left) Pascal Bieri Judith Wemmer Christoph Jenny Lukas Bni

Planted now plans to open another production facility soon, and is considering potential locations, probably outside Switzerland. Our production capacity is just about 20 tonnes each day, revealed Wemmer.Our new site will undoubtedly be advanced, have higher capacity and can most of all allow us more room to cultivate. We’ve already decreased charges for our end consumers inside our two- and half–year history. By increasing scale and additional automating our production, it we can further decrease prices, so economies of scale are kicking in nicely for all of us.

Furthermore, the a lot more than 65 employees employed in research, technology and product development at Planted are suffering from further promising prototypes. “We have now have to test, optimize and scale these with consumers. The strong support from investors gives us the chance to accelerate the testing phases and put significant resources into scaling to successfully bring the brand new products to advertise through our various distribution channels in the coming months,” Jenny added.

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