US – Alternative proteins startup, Eat Just has raised US$200 million in a funding round led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and participated in by Charlesbank Capital Partners and Vulcan Capital.

This investment round raises the amount that the startup has raised to date to US$650 million, and will lead to representatives from the QIA and Charlesbank joining Eat Just’s board.

Eat Just is probably the only company right now making animal alternative products in two diverse formats — both plant-based and cell-based — and this funding is likely to advance both.

The funding will be particularly useful in helping the company build capacity for its products, accelerate R&D programs and grow its brands in international markets.

In 2020, Eat Just arguably one of the most active companies in the animal alternatives segment, selling its mung-bean-based Just Egg in several companies, both in retail and foodservice locations, and achieving a penetration of 1 million U.S. households, according to Nielsen statistics.

The company says it’s sold the equivalent of 100 million eggs worldwide in 2020 and owns 99.2% of the plant-based egg category. 

Towards the end of 2020, the start-up also received the world’s first regulatory approval to sell cell-based chicken in Singapore, another remarkable achievement for the company.

Eat Just also has a partnership with Japanese beef producer Toriyama to create cell-based wagyu beef, a sought-after and exclusive steak.

This new funding, coupled with other business moves the company is making, could move it forward and put it on track to realising its goal of making a profit in 2021.

COVID-19 accelerates predictions of meat and dairy collapse by 2030

Meanwhile, as investments in alternative protein companies continue to skyrocket, food industry experts are projecting a collapse of the meat and dairy industry to happen sooner than anticipated.

According to a recently released report by think tank RethinkX, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth in plant-based meat, plant-based dairy and plant-based cheese.

 Cell-based meat is not just an idea companies are working on, regulatory approval in Singapore has made it an actual product, and it can be close to price parity with chicken meat from an animal.

Plant-based and fermented substitute companies have not just grown in both product availability and portfolios, but have also received record-setting investment.

A recent analysis from the Good Food Institute found that US$3.1 billion was invested in alternative proteins in 2020.

Also the fact that the pandemic began as an animal virus transmitted to humans brought another danger using animals for food to light.

Because of the above factors, RenthinkX’s Food & Agriculture Report projects demand for cow-associated products would be down 70% by 2030 with revenues plunging by 90%.

With the decline, the reports notes that about a quarter of the continental U.S. now dedicated to livestock and feed production will be available for other uses, and greenhouse gas emissions from the food industry would be down 45% in 2030.

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