Seaweed-based bacon startup lands $3 million in funding

Led by AgFunder, the investment will support the launch of the company’s first product, a highly realistic, umami-rich vegetable bacon made with its proprietary red protein, Umaro, which is expected to be available in select restaurants in the second quarter of the year. .

Umaro Foods was co-founded in 2019 in Berkeley, California by CEO Beth Zotter and CTO Dr. Amanda Stiles.

“Bacon is the holy grail of plant-based foods, and our innovative formula is a game-changer in the category,” Zotter said in a press release.

Under the company’s former name, Trophic, Zotter and Stiles won $6 million in science and technology research grants, including from the Department of Energy-Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E ), the Good Food Institute and Activate Fellows.

The company’s bacon contains extracts of ocean-grown red algae and serves as a functional substitute for heme, the red protein molecule that causes vegetable meat to “bleed”. They also use seaweed-based ingredients to encapsulate vegetable oils in fat that they say “crisps and crunches like animal fat.”

Umaru says bacon is the perfect food to showcase the potential of seaweed protein in the future of plant-based meat.

“Seaweed offers the most sustainable and least impactful way to source protein, and the ocean is our largest protein bioreactor. It requires no land, fresh water or synthetic fertilizers. future, seaweed will provide the majority of our protein needs,” Zotter said.

“Consumers can be delighted to eat something that tastes, smells and performs like bacon, and we have the first plant-based product capable of taking market share from animal bacon.”

The funding round was joined by Alexandria Venture Investments, Impact Science Ventures, Ponderosa Ventures, Clear Current Capital, Ahimsa Foundation and Sustainable Food Ventures, representing technology and consumer food investors.

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