Today, New York-based startup Atlast Food Co. announced that it has raised a $40 million Series A funding round to help it bring mushroom-based vegan meat products to consumers everywhere. Under its MyEats brand, Atlast makes vegan MyBacon from mycelium (the fast-growing root systems of mushrooms) by first producing “mushroom belly” which is sliced and brined. The resulting mushroom bacon mimics pork bacon in taste and texture—a key differentiating factor from other plant-based meats on the market. While many plant-based products such as burgers, grounds, and chicken are made from an extruded base, MyBacon is a “whole cut” vegan meat made with six ingredients that offers a multi-sensory experience with the same sear, sizzle, chew, and fattiness of animal meat.
Meat company Applegate Farms participated in the $40 million funding round, which also included dairy giant Stonyfield. “I’ve spent the last thirty years working to bring sustainable meat to consumers around the nation,” Applegate Farms Founder Stephen McDonnell said. “The Atlast team is advancing that mission for the 21st century to give today’s brands and consumers new plant based alternatives that mimic the texture and flavor of whole cut meats.”
Currently, MyBacon is available at one retailer in Albany, NY, Honest Weight Food Co-op, where it is stocked in the meat department and sells out every week, often in 48 hours, according to meat department manager Mo Durr. The funding round will help Atlast expand the availability of MyBacon, grow its team, develop new products, and increase mycelium production. “This investment will allow us to meet the incredible demand we’ve felt for our product,” Atlast President Stephen Lomnes said. “We are building the largest mycelium production facility in the US to provide consumers nationwide with a tastier alternative to their favorite animal proteins.”
Growing vegan mushroom bacon, leather, and more
Atlast is a spinoff from biotechnology company Ecovative Design, which raised its own $60 million investment earlier this month. Outside of the food space, Ecovative also uses mycelium to create materials such as environmentally friendly leather, styrofoam-free packaging, and makeup sponges, spa slippers, toe spacers, and sheet masks to reduce waste in the beauty industry. Ecovative will use its funding to scale-up its mushroom production, build upon its existing product lines, and create a discovery platform to develop new uses for mycelium with the goal of replacing animal products across multiple industries with goods made from the innovative animal-free material.