The Swiss alternative protein company Planted has its second round of the year worth 17 million CHF (currently around 18.5 million CHF Try the schnitzel.
Planted appeared in 2019 as a spin-off from the Swiss research university ETH Zurich, where the founders developed the original technique of extruding vegetable proteins and water into fibrous structures similar to those of real meat. Since then, the company has diversified its protein sources, adding oats and sunflowers, and also developing alternative products for pulled pork and kebab.
Over time, the process has also improved. “We added fermentation / biotech technologies to improve taste and texture,” CEO and co-founder Christoph Jenny wrote in an email to TechCrunch. “That means 1) we can create structures with no shape restrictions and 2) we can add a broader flavor profile.”
The latest development is the schnitzel, of course a breaded and deep-fried piece of wafer-thin meat that is popular around the world, but especially in the core markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Jenny noticed that Planted’s schnitzel is made in one piece and not compressed from smaller pieces. “The taste and texture benefit from the fermentation approach which makes the flavor profile delicious and the texture super juicy,” he said, although of course we have to test it to be sure. Expect schnitzel to debut in the third quarter.
It’s the first of several planned “whole” or “prime” cuts, larger cuts that can be cooked like any other cut of meat – the team says their products require no special prep or additives and are a 1: 1 substitute Most recipes can be inserted. Right now, the big cuts are leaving the lab and entering consumer testing for flavor matching and ultimately scaling.
The financing round came from “Vorwerk Ventures, Gullspång Re: food, Movendo Capital, Good Seed Ventures, Joyance, ACE & Company (SFG strategy) and Be8 Ventures” and was described as a continuation of the CHF 17 million Series A from March. Undoubtedly, the exploding demand for alternative proteins and increasing competition in the area have prompted Planted investors to opt for more aggressive growth and development strategies.
The company plans to enter several new markets over the course of the third and fourth quarters, but the U.S. is still in question due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Jenny said they are preparing to take this step whenever possible, but for now Planted is focused on the European market.