Making meat from mushrooms instead of animals is a sustainable way forward for the food system, and Australia’s Fable Food raised $8.5 million to support this future. The mushroom meat company’s Series A round was led by Singapore-based K3 Ventures with participation from like-minded investors, including ethicist Peter Singer and Greg Creed—the former global CEO of Yum! Brands which is the parent company of popular chains KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.
“After four decades working in the consumer goods and food industries, first with Unilever, then with Yum! Brands, I have witnessed the changing demands of consumers around the world when it comes to what they eat,” Creed said in a statement.
“I’ve seen plenty of fads and gimmicks along the way and I know one thing that consumers will never compromise on, is taste,” he said. “What Fable has nailed is the intersection of health, sustainability, and taste with their range of mushroom products.”
Fable’s minimally processed mushroom meat—which is meant to be used the same way as pulled pork or braised beef—first debuted in Australian retailers and restaurants in 2020 but has since expanded internationally.
The company will use its funding to propel product development and expand its international footprint, with a focus on North America, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.
Making sustainable meat from mushrooms
Launched in 2019, Fable Foods is on a mission to give consumers a better choice when it comes to delicious meat, making it from mushrooms instead of animals.
“We want to inspire the world to make more sustainable food choices,” Michael Fox, Co-founder and CEO of Fable, said in a statement. “We believe that eating more delicious, meaty food made from mushrooms will help the world reduce global meat consumption —without compromising on taste, texture, or experience—and this is how we will be able to achieve a more sustainable food system.”
Singer has been a thought leader in the field of practical ethics for decades and his recent investment is motivated by his moral support for Fable’s mission.
“I’m delighted to be able to invest in a company that seeks to end industrial agriculture by making plant-based food I love to cook with,” Singer said.
Within a year and a half of its launch, Fable’s mushroom meat hit retailers in Australia and gained endorsements from acclaimed chefs, including British Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal.
The mushroom meat also debuted on the menu at Australian multinational concept Grill’d and nationwide at Sydney-based chain Guzman y Gomez. Last year, the company embarked on an international expansion, landing on menus in New Zealand, the UK, Singapore, and the US.
Thus far in 2023, Fable Foods has expanded its North American footprint with brand partnerships, including New York based meal delivery service CookUnity; plant-based restaurant chain The Butcher’s Daughter; as well as Canada-based cooked meal delivery service Ethey.
Next month, Fable will launch a mushroom burger slider on the menu at STK Steakhouse, representing the first time the meat-centric chain has offered a plant-based meat option.
Vegan meat at Yum! Brands
Creed left his post as global CEO of Yum! Brands in 2019. Soon after, the company began diving deeper into plant-based meat together with vegan brand Beyond Meat.
Chicken giant KFC began working with the company on Beyond Fried Chicken in 2019 when it tested the vegan chicken at one Atlanta location—where it sold out in five hours. In 2022, KFC expanded the offering nationwide for a limited time but has yet to add it to its permanent menu.
Pizza Hut tested pizzas topped with Beyond Meat’s Italian sausage nationwide in 2020 before exploring a launch of Beyond Pepperoni in 2021.
At Taco Bell, the partnership with Beyond resulted in Beyond Carne Asada Steak, a vegan version of the chain’s marinated steak which it launched at 50 Dayton, OH locations in October.
Is mushroom meat the next wave of animal-free alternatives? Fable’s supporters think so. Its early success in retail and foodservice, along with its mission and team, inspired Creed to invest in the company, which he believes can have an appeal globally.
“Blending their obsession with mushrooms and clean ingredient ethos with real world experience, the Fable team is going to cut through the clutter and win over consumers around the world,” Creed said.