Plant-based food companies have raised more than $16 billion in the last decade, with record gains of $13 billion in 2017 and 2018 alone, according to the “State of the Industry Report” released today by non-profit organization Good Food Institute (GFI). “Investors and entrepreneurs are capitalizing on a global shift in the way meat is produced. The market opportunity here is massive,” GFI Executive Director Bruce Friedrich said. “Shifting consumer values have created a favorable market for alternatives to animal-based foods, and we have already seen fast-paced growth in this space across retail and foodservice markets.” GFI identified Impossible Food’s $189-million late-stage venture capital round as 2018’s largest investment deal, followed by vegan milk brand Ripple Foods’ $65-million Series C round, Beyond Meat’s $50-million Series H round, and Califia Farms’ $50-million private equity round. The report also found that 2018 was a record year of investment activity in the cell-based meat industry—where meat is grown using a small number of animal cells in a lab-setting—which saw 12 startups raise $50 million in capital across 14 deals. Since 2009, 19 plant-based companies were acquired by non-vegan brands, with 10 of these deals—including the 2017 acquisition of plant-based milk producer WhiteWave Foods by Danone for $12.5 billion, the largest deal of its kind to date—occurring in the last two years. “These industries are accelerating rapidly, and we are about to see them take off. There is a great deal of momentum, which has been brought about by product innovation, greater emphasis on quality, more investment, and a change in consumer values,” GFI Director of Innovation Brad Barbera said. “There is still so much growth possible, and there are great opportunities that come with that. Investors and entrepreneurs recognize the vast market opportunity on offer to get involved while these industries take form.” Last week, Beyond Meat became the first plant-based meat company to be publicly traded on NASDAQ and the unprecedented success of its initial public offering (IPO)—the best-performing IPO of the year—is evidence of consumer interest in investing in the plant-based industry.  

Photo credit: Impossible Foods 

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