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Plant-based meat start-up Nature’s Fynd, backed by Jack Ma, Bill Gates, and Al Gore targets Chinese market

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China, which has been hit hard by coronavirus, has highlighted how plant-based, or vegan meat is increasingly viewed as a climate-friendly, stable source of animal-protein alternative.

GEORGINA LEE: Plant-based meat maker Nature’s Fynd said it has recently secured US$80 million of funding from investors including former US vice-president Al Gore, as the four-year old food tech start-up begins production in Chicago and prepares to expand into Asia. The latest equity funding round comes after African swine fever and the more recent coronavirus have highlighted how plant-based, or vegan meat is increasingly viewed as a climate-friendly, stable source of animal-protein alternative.

In China, which has been hit hard by both epidemics since May last year, extra imports of pork to compensate for the supply shortage caused by African swine fever have dried up over the past two months because of travel bans triggered by the coronavirus. China produced 42.55 million tonnes of pork in 2019, down more than fifth from a year earlier, official data shows.

“In countries such as China you would have to import pork, or soybean as the hog feedstocks. Our technology enables the growth of locally-sourced protein using simple sugar sourced in Asia,” said Nature’s Fynd co-founder and chief executive Thomas Jonas. The recent epidemics have highlighted the important role China plays in the global food production supply chain, Jonas said. Hence, Nature’s Fynd is targeting regulatory approval from China and Hong Kong within the next 18 to 24 months…

As production and commercialisation begins in the US, the firm is aiming to put its food and drinks on the shelves of major US retailers within the next year. Nature’s Fynd uses a protein which is derived from a microbe originally discovered in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone’s volcano. For the Chinese market, Jonas said the company has adapted it to various meat flavours including poultry and beef and incorporated it into Chinese cuisine, such as dim sum.  SOURCE…

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