Start-up Meala FoodTech, Ltd., the developer of a functional protein platform, announces the close of USD1.9M in pre-seed investment. The round was led by The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, part of The Strauss-Group and DSM Venturing (the corporate venture arm of the Dutch multinational Royal DSM); with participation of Milk & Honey Ventures, specializing in alt-protein investments DSM Venturing’s contribution marks its third investment in the Israeli FoodTech ecosystem in 2022.
While the plant-based category continues to gain momentum, alt-protein food formulators still struggle to improve the labels and mouthfeel of their products to match traditional, animal-based counterparts. Currently, popular meat alternatives such as veggie burgers and sausages, typically contain a long list of ingredients, some with complex chemical names unfamiliar to consumers.
Meala FoodTech is on a mission to revolutionize the plant-based protein industry by developing new ingredients and processes that allow the creation of cleaner, better-for-you, products.
Meala’s multi-functional proteins vastly improve the texture of meat alternatives to more compellingly mimic the organoleptic qualities of real meat and deliver a more full-bodied flavor. Meala’s proprietary platform creates functional proteins designed to be used as binding and gelling agents thanks to their superior water retention capabilities. The platform enables formulators to boost meat analogues with better nutritional value and functional properties using a short list of ingredients as in real meat.
“We are excited to complete this investment round with the support of leading investors,” notes Hadar Razmovich, CEO and Meala co-founder. “This achievement reflects the investors’ trust in our technology and R&D team of experts. “There is a significant need in the plant-based industry to effectively reduce undesirable ingredients and clean up labels. This investment will help us get closer and faster to the market, better address the companies’ specific needs and provide affordable, smarter solutions.
“It is exciting to support Meala on this important mission to improve plant-based foods, making them tastier, more nutritious, and with readily recognizable ingredients,” expresses Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. “This is another milestone in our quest to nourish a better tomorrow, and we are honored to have a leading entity such as DSM Venturing co-invest with us in such a promising company.”
The new funding will initially go toward continuing the development of the company’s platform technology and accelerate from lab to pilot scale. The start-up’s core technology enables the development of functional proteins for multiple meat replacements, including burgers, sausages, nuggets with egg and fish alternatives in development.
“This investment will enable us to accelerate our growth and support plant-based producers in their mission to reach new consumer segments,” states Dr. Tali Feldman Sivan, PhD, co-founder of Meala. “We already initiated collaborations with leading plant-based CPG manufacturers to implement Meala’s solution in their products. We are on track to launch products in the US and European markets in 2024.”
Meala’s vision for plant-based alternatives is to have a short list of simple, recognizable “home kitchen” ingredients while delivering the same full-bodied flavor and texture of real meat. The platform works with a versatile range of plant proteins. The Meala solution can be easily integrated into CPG products through existing manufacturing lines.
Meala was founded in 2021 by product innovation specialist Hadar Ekhoiz Razmovich; Tali Feldman Sivan, PhD, a serial entrepreneur and business strategist; and Liran Gruda, CIO and culinary chef. After delving into the meat alternative category in depth, the trio joined forces on a mission to bridge the gap between processed vegan products currently available, and the perception that plant-based products are better for you, and to break down the last barriers between meat and meat analogs.
About DSM Venturing
DSM Venturing is the corporate venture arm of Royal DSM –a global, purpose-led company in Health, Nutrition & Bioscience, applying science to improve the health of people, animals, and the planet. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM’s products and solutions address some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental, and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.
About The Kitchen Hub
The Kitchen FoodTech Hub is an incubator and a seed investor, addressing global food challenges. It nurtures promising FoodTech ventures showing potential to disrupt the global food system- making it more productive, affordable, sustainable, and healthier. The Strauss Group founded the Kitchen FoodTech Hub in 2015 in cooperation with the Israeli Innovation Authority. So far The Kitchen’s 22 portfolio companies have raised more than $280M which has served to assist them in developing their technology and products and boost their global activity.