All G Foods has completed a $15.5 million seed raise to further its precision fermentation cow-free dairy technology as well launch its alternative protein retail product, Love Buds.
Founder and CEO Jan Pacas told Food & Drink Business All G will be the first Australian company using precision fermentation to develop dairy proteins without the cow for milk and other dairy products. “The technology is expected to revolutionise the meat and dairy industry and All G Foods plans to be at the forefront of this disruption,” Pacas said.
Its a bold claim from the new player and follows the launch of Eden Brew in July, the precision fermentation dairy company by CSIRO, Main Sequence, Norco and Jim Fader.
Investors included the Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEFC), Ellerston capital, Singapore based private equity firm Triple Star Capital, founders of Our Innovation fund and Monash Capital David Shein and Geoff Levi; Peter Andrews, CEO of Andrews Meats; Rob Lederer, ex Primo Meats; global flavour company Oppenheimer, distribution partners and unnamed ASX 200 CEOs.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said alternative proteins were an important way to reduce food-related emissions because of their relatively small carbon footprint.
“With plant-based proteins and proteins from technology like precision fermentation, we can feed a growing local and global population while putting less pressure on our environment,” Learmonth said.
For Pacas, the calibre of investors reflects the potential All G Foods has when it comes to combining science with foundational precision fermentation technology and its “world leading” team.
“We are already in discussions with large industry players here and overseas. We are carrying out tastings with investors and also talking to the Singaporean government about launching the product. We are talking to FSANZ as well, but Singapore is more flexible and moving faster in this market.
“Getting a premium product footing in the Asian market is a big priority for us. We’ll be looking to have another big funding raise, invest more in CAPEX and scale up to fuel our overseas ambitions with a product ready for market in the next 12 months,” Pacas said.
Love Buds in IGA & food service
All G Foods’ first retail brand Love Buds has launched in IGA Supermarkets and food retail outlets around Australia. A burger pattie has been the first product to market, with plant-based mince, sausages, as well as chicken and bacon alternatives in the pipeline.
Pacas said the company is focused on positioning itself as “just another type of protein”.
“We want to avoid being seen as ‘preachy’ or divisive, Love Buds is about uniting everyone around the BBQ.
“You don’t have to be an Einstein to know that the solution to needing to double our food supply is not to produce twice the amount of lamb, cows, pork and chicken, just like it’s not the solution to have twice the number of cars for transport. There needs to be solutions that co-exist,” he says.
Pacas said that the fractious elements of conventional animal protein producers and alternative proteins are simply part of the disruptive process. As the market matures, “everything will take care of itself,” Pacas says.
Meanwhile, IGA chair Joseph Romeo of Romeos Supermarkets sees All G Foods as a growth opportunity.
“We have seen steady growth in plant-based year on year, but now we have Love Buds we are doubling down and resetting the way we merchandise the category. Meat and plant based are getting closer together.
While we see a lot of products come and go, not many have the whole package. When I first saw All G Foods, I knew there was something different, but once I ate the Buds burger, I knew this was going to be a game changer and we jumped on board immediately,” Romeo said.
For Andrews Meats CEO Peter Andrews, it was the flavour of Love Buds that piqued his interest.
“I’d been looking to invest in the market segment for some time, but none of the companies or products I looked at hit the mark. For us, this is just another protein. We look at it as we look at beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or fish, it gives our customers an alternative and its one they’re asking for,” Andrews told Food & Drink Business.
When he met with Pacas and tasted the burger he was “blown away”.
“I have tasted so many plant-based products and this was the closest to real meat. It has the texture, the umami and aroma.
“Ultimately it comes down to the product. The first thing everyone looks at is the flavour, texture and then ingredient declaration. All G has a very clean ingredient deck together with the right texture and flavour. The customers we’ve trialled it with are excited to start using it.
“It is a premium product, we don’t see any criticism in adding that to our product offering,” he said.