SWITZERLAND – Planted Foods, an alternative protein start-up has secured US$7 million in seed funding to build production capacity and expand into some European markets.

Investors in the funding included Blue Horizon Corporation, Hiltl AG, Good Seed Ventures, Mica Ventures, and Joyance Partners, the ETH Foundation and private investment.

Planted Foods was established by was created by co-founders Pascal Bieri, Lukas Böni, Christoph Jenny and Eric Stirnemann in early 2019 with an objective to meet the increasing demand for sustainable protein.

Having recognised the ‘urgent need’ for alternatives to meat from intensive livestock farming, the company has already launched its first product a vegan chicken substitute – which mimics the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of the real meat.

Planted currently sells two chicken alternative products, the ‘planted.chicken’ and ‘BBQ planted.chicken’. The products contain 26.7g and 22.7g protein per 100g, respectively, and are made from pea protein, pea fibre, and sunflower oil.

Planted Foods’ products are currently sold via its online store and in foodservice and restaurants in Switzerland.

The start-up said closing the seed round will help increase production capacity by more than ten times and expects that its plant.chicken products will expand into retail and and other global markets in 2020, reports FoodNavigator.

Planted Foods also said that it will be investing in research and development. The start-up is currently developing a line of pulled pork alternatives, which is scheduled for launch early 2020.

The company claims that its technology uses all natural ingredients and allows for a juiciness otherwise absent in conventional meat analogues. Planted products are also free from additives and soy.

With plant-based foods becoming such an important sector on the food industry, the California-based Impossible Foods has filed an application in the European Union that hints it is looking to make inroads in the European market and expand outside the US and Asia.

The plant-based burgers maker has filed a request to gain authorization for the use of soy leghemoglobin in the EU, three months afer the FDA approved the use of soy leghemoglobin as a color additive in uncooked ground beef analog products in the US.

In May, Beyond Meat also announced that that it would start making its plant-based meats in Europe next year.