This version of Julia Child’s classic Beef Bourguignon (or Boeuf Bourguignon) is made by stewing beef with carrots and mushrooms until it’s fall-apart tender. The sauce is rich, hearty, and worth every minute of slow cooking. Serve for Christmas dinner or any special winter meal.
The Not Company, Latin America’s leading contender in the plant-based meat and dairy substitute market, is about to close on an $85 million round of funding that would value it at $250 million, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.
The latest round of funding comes on the heels of a series of successes for the Santiago-based business. In the two years since NotCo launched on the global stage, the company has expanded beyond its mayonnaise product into milk, ice cream and hamburgers. Other products, including a chicken meat substitute, are also on the product roadmap, according to people familiar with the company.
NotCo is already selling several products in Chile, Argentina and Latin America’s largest market — Brazil — and has signed a blockbuster deal with Burger King to be the chain’s supplier of plant-based burgers. It’s in this Burger King deal that NotCo’s approach to protein formulation is paying dividends, sources said. The company is responsible for selling 48 sandwiches per store per day in the locations where it’s supplying its products, according to one person familiar with the data. That figure outperforms Impossible Foods per-store sales, the person said.
NotCo is also now selling its burgers in grocery stores in Argentina and Chile. And while the company is not break-even yet, sources said that by December 2021 it could be — or potentially even cash flow positive.
NotCo co-founders Karim Pichara, Matias Muchnick and Pablo Zamora. Image Credit: The Not Company
With the growth both in sales and its diversification into new products, it’s little wonder that investors have taken note.
Sources said that the consumer brand-focused private equity firm L Catterton Partners and the Biz Stone-backed Future Positive were likely investors in the new financing round for the company. Previous investors in NotCo include Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment firm of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; the London-based CPG investment firm, The Craftory; IndieBio; and SOS Ventures.
Alternatives to animal products are a huge (and still growing) category for venture investors. Earlier this month Perfect Day closed on a second tranche of $160 million for that company’s latest round of financing, bringing that company’s total capital raised to $361.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Perfect Day then turned around and launched a consumer food business called the Urgent Company.
These recent rounds confirm our reporting in Extra Crunch about where investors are focusing their time as they try to create a more sustainable future for the food industry. Read more about the path they’re charting.
Meanwhile, large food chains continue to experiment with plant-based menu items and push even further afield into cell-based meat using cultures from animals. KFC recently announced that it would be expanding its experiment with Beyond Meat’s chicken substitute in the U.S. — and would also be experimenting with cultured meat in Moscow.
Behind all of this activity is an acknowledgement that consumer tastes are changing, interest in plant-based diets are growing, and animal agriculture is having profound effects on the world’s climate.
As the website ClimateNexus notes, animal agriculture is the second-largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels. It’s also a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss.
There are 70 billion animals raised annually for human consumption, which occupy one-third of the planet’s arable and habitable land surface, and consume 16% of the world’s freshwater supply. Reducing meat consumption in the world’s diet could have huge implications for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If Americans were to replace beef with plant-based substitutes, some studies suggest it would reduce emissions by 1,911 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Call them kabobs, kebabs, or shish kebobs, what’s a summer grill without them? Top sirloin chunks, marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, olive oil marinade, grilled with onions, mushrooms, bell peppers.
Easy 3-ingredient Beef Brisket! Here’s how to cook beef brisket in oven, slathered in a mixture of BBQ sauce and soy sauce. Just wrap in foil, and bake until falling apart tender. This beef brisket is simple and delicious.
Here’s how to easily cure your own corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day! It’s made with beef brisket, pickling spices, and salt, and needs to cure for 5 days. The result is a corned beef that’s more flavorful and unique than you can buy in the store.
Impossible Foods made huge waves in the food industry when it came up with a way of isolating and using “heme” molecules from plants to mimic the blood found in animal meat (also comprised of heme), bringing a new depth of flavor to its vegetarian burger.
This week at CES, the company is presenting the next act in its mission to get the average consumer to switch to more sustainable, plant-based proteins: it unveiled its version of pork — specifically ground pork, which will be sold as a basic building block for cooking as well as in sausage form. It’s a critical step, given that pork is the most-eaten animal product in the world.
Impossible has set up shop in CES’s outdoor area, situated near a line of food trucks, and it will be cooking food for whoever wants to come by. (I tasted a selection of items made from the new product — a steamed bun, a meatball, some noodles and a lettuce wrap — and the resemblance is uncanny, and not bad at all.) And after today, the new product will be making its way first to selected Burger King restaurants in the US before appearing elsewhere.
It may sound a little far-fetched to see a food startup exhibiting and launching new products at a consumer electronics show, attended by 200,000 visitors who will likely by outnumbered by the number of TVs, computers, phones, and other electronic devices on display. Indeed, Impossible is the only food exhibitor this year.
But if you ask Pat Brown, the CEO and founder of Impossible Foods (pictured right, at the sunny CES stand in the cold wearing a hat), the company is in precisely the right place.
“To me it’s very natural to be at CES,” he said in an interview this week at the show. “The food system is the most important technology on earth. It is absolutely a technology, and an incredibly important one, even if it doesn’t get recognised as such. The use of animals as a food technology is the most destructive on earth. And when Impossible was founded, it was to address that issue. We recognised it as a technology problem.”
That is also how Impossible has positioned itself as a startup. Its emergence (it was founded 2011) dovetailed with an interesting shift in the world of tech. The number of startups were booming, fuelled by VC money and a boom in smartphones and broadband. At the same time, we were starting to see a new kind of startup emerging built on technology but disrupting a wide range of areas not traditionally associated with technology. Technology VCs, looking for more opportunities (and needing to invest increasingly larger funds), were opening themselves up to consider more of the latter opportunities.
Impossible has seized the moment. It has raised around $777 million to date from a list of investors more commonly associated with tech companies — they include Khosla, Temasek, Horizons Ventures, GV, and a host of celebrities — and Impossible is now estimated to be valued at around $4 billion. Brown told me it is currently more than doubling revenues annually.
With his roots in academia, the idea of Brown (who has also done groundbreaking work in HIV research) founding and running a business is perhaps as left-field a development as a food company making the leap from commodity or packaged good business to tech. Before Impossible, Brown said that he had “zero interest” in becoming an entrepreneur: the bug that has bitten so many others at Stanford (where he was working prior to founding Impossible) had not bitten him.
“I had an awesome job where I followed my curiosity, working on problems that I found interesting and important with great colleagues,” he said.
That changed when he began to realise the scale of the problem resulting from the meat industry, which has led to a well-catalogued list of health, economic and environmental impacts (including increased greenhouse gas emissions and the removal of natural ecosystems to make way for farming land. “It is the most important and consequential issue for the future of the world, and so the solution has to be market-based,” he said. “The only way we can replace themes that are this destructive is by coming up with a better technology and competing.”
Pork is a necessary step in that strategy to compete. America, it seems, is all about beef and chicken when it comes to eating animals. But pigs and pork take the cake when you consider meat consumption globally, accounting for 38% of all meat production, with 47 pigs killed on average every second of every day. Asia, and specifically China, figure strongly in that demand. Consumption of pork in China has increased 140% since 1990, Impossible notes.
Pigs’ collective footprint in the world is also huge: there are 1.44 billion of them, and their collective biomass totals 175 kg, twice as much as the biomass of all wild terrestrial vertebrates, Impossible says.
Whether Impossible’s version of pork will be enough or just an incremental step is another question. Ground meat is not the same as creating structured proteins that mimic the whole-cuts that are common (probably more common) when it comes to how pork is typically cooked (ditto for chicken and beef and other meats).
That might likely require more capital and time to develop.
For now, Impossible is focused on building out its business on its own steam: it’s not entertaining any thoughts of selling up, or even of licensing out its IP for isolating and using soy leghemoglobin — the essential “blood” that sets its veggie proteins apart from other things on the market. (I think of licensing out that IP, as the equivalent of how a tech company might white label or create APIs for third parties to integrate its cool stuff into their services.)
That means there will be inevitable questions down the line about how Impossible will capitalise to meet demand for its products. Brown said that for now there are no plans for IPOs or to raise more externally, but pointed out that it would have no problem doing either.
Indeed, the company has built up an impressive bench of executives and other talent to meet those future scenarios. Earlier this year, Impossible hired Dennis Woodside — the former Dropbox, Google and Motorola star– as its first president. And its CFO, David Lee, joined from Zynga back in 2015, with a stint also in the mass-market food industry, having been at Del Monte prior to that.
Lee told me that the company has essentially been running itself as a public company internally in preparation for a time when it might follow in the footsteps of its biggest competitor, Beyond Meat, and go public.
“From a tech standpoint I’m absolutely confident that we can outperform what we get from animals in affordability, nutrition and deliciousness,” said Brown. “This entire industry is most destructive by far and has major responsibility in terms of climate and biodiversity, but it going to be history and we are going to replace it.”
Beef Brisket cooked as a pot roast couldn’t be easier. Just sear and then cook it in the oven with onions and garlic all afternoon until it becomes fall-apart tender. The leftovers freeze beautifully, too!
Zucchini season is starting to take off, which means we are going to need lots of creative uses for this vegetable.
Whether you grow it yourself, know someone who grows it, or just buy it at the market, when it’s zucchini season, it’s abundant!
Flank steak is a lean, somewhat tough but flavorful cut of beef that benefits from the tenderizing effects of a marinade. It is best cooked medium rare and thinly sliced at an angle across the grain of the meat.
Prepared this way, marinated, cooked quickly at high heat, thinly sliced, flank steak practically melts in your mouth. This recipe calls for grilling the steak, but if you don’t have a grill, you can prepare the steak on a large cast iron frying pan as well.
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This Flank Steak Stir Fry is perfect for a midweek meal when asparagus are in season. It’s easy enough to make and everyone raves about it!
When it comes to stir-fry, it’s all about the prep. The dish itself cooks up so quickly that you need everything prepped and ready to go before you start adding the elements to the hot pan.
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Hope you’re hungry, because Nicki Minaj is serving up some prime, grade-A beef between her and fellow rapper Remy Ma, and we were all unprepared.
The internet went into collective freakout mode on Thursday night after rapper Gucci Mane released a new track, “Make Love,” featuring Nicki Minaj.
On the track Nicki raps:
“Oooohhh, oh you the qu-e-e-the queen of this here?/
One platinum plaque, album flopped, bitch, where? (bitch, where?)…
You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap/
You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques.“
Little background, here: Nicki Minaj has famously declared herself the Queen of Rap, on several occasions—including but not limited to her feature on Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” (“I’m the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop“) and her feature on Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone – Remix” (“Run this game for 5 years/ guess that’s why my feet hurt…Yes, I am an icon, that’s me on your t-shirt“). Read more…
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