Meati Foods is closer to full-scale production of its whole-food protein made from the structural fibers of mushrooms, known as mycelium. The company announced Thursday the opening of its production facility, dubbed “Mega Ranch,” in Colorado.
The 100,000-square-foot facility was financed in part by a $150 million Series C round of capital raised last year and a brand new extension round of $22 million. This will enable Meati to produce an annual rate of tens of millions of pounds by late 2023. Once fully ramped up, the facility will have the capability of producing more than 45 million pounds of product.
Tyler Huggins, co-founder and CEO of Meati Foods, told TechCrunch that the company wasn’t actively seeking additional capital, but had decided to keep the Series C round open due to additional investor interest.
“There was more interest than room in the $150 million round, so we continued to keep it open,” he said. “We also wanted to bring in value-add folks and pour more fuel on the fire which would help us move faster, get into more doors and unlock more capacity.”
The use of mycelium is growing as not only an alternative protein source, like what fellow food tech companies Perfect Day, MyForest Foods and Fable Food do, but also in clothing and leather. In the past few years, many food tech companies are joining Meati Foods in going from the R&D phase to building facilities. For example, No Meat Factory announced new funding earlier this month to build a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing plant to scale its alternative protein, while both Planetary and Prolific Machines raised capital in 2022 to build production facilities.
With a focus on providing products that are sustainable, nutritious and taste good, Mega Ranch enables Meati Foods to grow, harvest and process its mycelium and then produce its products under one roof. The company touts its proprietary production capability to grow a teaspoon of spores into the equivalent of hundreds of cow whole-food protein in just a few days.
Its Eat Meati product line is already being produced at the Mega Ranch and currently includes four products: the Classic Cutlet, Crispy Cutlet, Classic Steak and Carne Asada Steak.
The products are sold through retail and foodservice partners, including Sprouts Farmers Market, Sweetgreen and Birdcall. It is also doing small drops of products online that Huggins said continuously sell out quickly. In addition, he plans to get Meati products into 7,000 doors by the end of the year.
The new capital round was led again by Revolution Growth and also included Rockefeller Capital. Now, the company’s total funding to date is over $250 million.
“The next few years will see a seismic shift in how we eat, and Meati’s state-of-the-art, scalable production capabilities coupled with its focus on meeting consumer needs for clean, whole-food protein position the brand to lead,” said Fazeela Abdul Rashid, partner at Revolution Growth and member of the Meati Foods board, in a written statement. “Tyler and the team have a vision for a new food category with pure ingredients and taste that doesn’t compromise. We are excited to continue working with them to reach the next level and bring Meati to more consumers across the U.S.”
When I spoke with Huggins in 2022, he mentioned the company’s goal of reaching a $1 billion in revenue run rate by 2025. The company expects to bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue this year with plans to reach hundreds of millions in 2024.
With the new facility and funding, Meati is on par to reach that sales rate. In addition to what he called the “core four” products, Huggins said the company’s technology can make other products all from one processing line.
Meanwhile, the company is also scouting out a location for what Huggins called “Giga Ranch,” which will be Meati’s flagship facility that will be able to produce hundreds of millions of pounds of its mycelium product annually.
Huggins said that “2023 will be a big moment” for the company in terms of production, building its brand and educating people about mushroom protein and its capability to provide more nutrition and be a net benefit to the world’s food system.
“There is no shortage of stuff coming out, and we have no lack of demand,” he added. “Our pipeline is robust, and everything we produce in the next year or more is already pre-sold. It’s now about unlocking capacity to get the product out there.”