food for black sheepa food technology company that produces meat from traditional plant-based breeds and wild game, has received $5.25 million in seed funding as it continues to develop its patent-pending flavor compounds.
Sunny Kumar, co-founder, told Ploonge that where some plant-based meats fall short is relying on flavor to be generated by mouth. Instead, his company is creating flavors that are detected in your nose and at the right time.
“[Mouth taste] It’s a rudimentary path,” he added. “We are working on compounds that can be detected in the nose. When people hunted and gathered, they used their noses.”
Since 2019, Black Sheep Foods has been working on R&D to create the compounds, pea protein compounds and fatty acids, and the best way to deliver them.
While plant-based versions of chicken and beef have become popular in recent years, Kumar believes meats such as lamb and other game, which are key parts of diets in the Mediterranean, India, the Middle East and Africa, have been left behind. by the trend.
The trend he refers to is the global plant-based meat market which was estimated to be worth $6.67 billion in 2020. As more people examine their diets and look for sustainable methods for eating, this market is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2026.
The new funding it received gives the company the opportunity to push plant-based versions of these meats to a more mainstream audience, especially those who, according to Kumar, have tried lamb before and didn’t like the taste.
Black Sheep’s sponsors include AgFunder, Bessemer Venture Partners, Tastybites’ Meera and Ashok Vasudevan, New Crop Capital, Siddhi Capital and Smita Conjeevaram.
The company launched its plant-based lamb last year with restaurant partners including Greek restaurant Souvla in the Bay Area. Kumar said the addition was the first time in seven years that Souvla has made a change to its menu. This year, the restaurant will feature Black Sheep Foods meatballs in its Delta Airlines offerings, available to First Class and Business Class travelers.
This month, lamb will begin being offered at other Bay Area restaurants such as Rooh, Chezchez, Beit Rima, Joyride, Mazra, Monica’s and Ettan.
Kumar plans to use the new funding to answer the common question he receives about the size of the lamb market and R&D to continue advancing the synthetic biology space with other flavors such as wild boar.
“The biggest hurdle is getting people to try the product,” he added. “We sell through our current chef partners and sell out. We look at how much other plant-based companies are selling and we are beating that metric.”