Mushroom-based meat different startup Fable Meals raises $6.5M AUD, will launch within the U.S. – TechCrunch


Sydney, Australia-based Fable Meals is the newest plant-based meals startup to announce funding. The corporate, which makes use of mushrooms in its meat alternate options, has raised $6.5 million AUD (about $4.8 million USD) in a seed spherical led by Blackbird Ventures, the Australian enterprise capital agency whose portfolio additionally consists of Canva, Tradition Amp and SafetyCulture. Different contributors included agriculture and food-tech enterprise agency AgFunder, sustainability-focused Aera VC and Higher Chew Ventures, together with Singapore-based produce importer Ban Choon Advertising and marketing and former Sequoia Capital companion Warren Hogarth.

Fable is getting ready to launch in the US by the tip of this yr. In Australia, its merchandise can be found at retailers like Woolworths, Coles and Harris Farm Markets, together with eating places together with Grill’d, which lately began serving its Meaty Mushroom Burger Pattie at 136 places. Fable’s merchandise are additionally out there at eating places in Singapore and the UK.

The startup was based in 2019 by high quality eating chef-turned-chemical engineer and mycologist (mushroom scientist) Jim Fuller, natural mushroom farmer Chris McLoghlin and Michael Fox, whose earlier startup was Footwear of Prey.

Fox, Fable’s chief govt officer, instructed TechCrunch in an e-mail that after being a vegetarian for six years, he lately turned a vegan “for a mixture of well being, environmental and moral causes.”

“Speaking to my family and friends, lots of people need to cut back their meat consumption for a similar causes however they discover it difficult as a result of they love the style and texture of meat and giving it up is difficult,” Fox mentioned. He wished to discover a option to make it simpler for folks to transition to plant-based meals, and spoke to a number of cooks who advised utilizing mushrooms as a base ingredient. Then Fox met Fuller and McLoghlin, who had been within the technique of creating meat alternate options utilizing mushrooms.

“Once we met, we realized we shared the identical values and targets and had complementary ability units,” mentioned Fox. “We shared a typical want to assist finish industrial agriculture and wished to make our meals system extra moral, wholesome, sustainable and decrease its greenhouse fuel emissions.”

Fable’s first merchandise embody an alternative to pulled pork, braised beef and beef brisket (Fuller grew up in Texas consuming slow-cooked meats and wished to recreate the expertise), together with a line of ready-made meals. The corporate makes use of shiitake mushrooms, which Fox defined are “very flavorful with their pure umami flavors, they’re a slow-growing mushroom in order that they naturally have the fleshy fibers that give the meaty chunk you sometimes get from animal proteins, and have the precise chemical composition that when cooked permit us to style flavors which might be present in animal merchandise.”

Fable's ready-made meals

Fable’s ready-made meals

Fuller serves as Fable’s chief science officer and the startup leverages his expertise as a chef/chemical engineer/mycologist to create the precise combos of taste, aroma and texture whereas maintaining processing and components to a minimal. For instance, its braised beef different is made with shiitake mushrooms, seven different components and salt and pepper.

Fable additionally introduced right this moment it has appointed Dan Joyce, who was beforehand security and compliance software program firm SafetyCulture’s normal supervisor of Europe, the Center East and Africa, as chief development officer to move world gross sales and advertising and marketing. It’s going to launch within the U.S. via a mixture of partnerships with eating places and meal equipment corporations.

Different startups that use mushrooms as foundation for meat alternate options embody Meati and AtLast. Fox mentioned a essential distinction is that these two startups ferment mycelium, or the basis construction of fungi, as a substitute of utilizing mushrooms, that are the fruiting physique of fungi.

Fable’s new funding shall be used for analysis and growth, increasing its manufacturing and manufacturing capability in Australia and different international locations. The corporate is maintaining its product pipeline below wraps for now, however Fox mentioned it plans to develop mushroom-based substitutes for pork, rooster, lamb and different animal proteins.


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