New School Foods Steak looks and tastes like salmon but is actually made from plants

New School Foods said its scaffolding and muscle fiber technology to make alternative cut whole fish products is now at a point where it can be demonstrated and a pilot plant built. The company’s first product is a vegetable fillet that looks, cooks, tastes and flakes wild salmon.

The announcement comes after the Toronto-based plant-based fish producer raised $12 million in seed funding. Participating investors include Lever VC, Blue Horizon Ventures, Hatch, Good Startup and Alwyn Capital. New School Foods also receives grants from Canadian government agencies, including Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Protein Industries Canada. The company has already raised a total of $13 million.

The three-year-old company has been swimming in rising waters as startups from around the world enter a market poised to reach $1.6 billion in value over the next 10 years.

Venture capital has also poured into the space, with approximately $178 million invested in the first half of 2022. One of VC’s biggest alternative seafood investments last year was for Wildtype, which has $100 million in a Series B round for its farmed salmon product. Plantish, Bluu Seafood and ISH Company are now also working on salmon alternatives.

“Seafood is now a new piece of the tech puzzle,” Christopher Bryson, CEO of New School Foods, told TechCrunch.

find technology

Bryson entered the alternative seafood market about five years ago after selling his company Unata, an e-commerce platform for major supermarkets, to Instacart. He set out to find his next “big thing”, eventually learning about factory farming and animal care in what he described as “a life-changing event”.

“It seemed like not enough people were concerned about this,” he added.

Bryson explained that the startup ecosystem doesn’t reward research and development, and since he didn’t have a product for investors to try, he took an angel investor approach: He looked at early technologies, particularly those that weren’t yet in use. , as alternatives. . protein

When he looked for research to invest in, he found not much technology focused on whole protein chunks and very little focused on seafood. Bryson saw that high-moisture extrusion was often used, but found that the high heat used precooked the food and did not produce the type of texture and muscle fibers he was looking for.

“That is why we decided to develop a new technology that does not rely on high moisture extrusion and is more suitable for full cuts,” he added.

What New School Foods has developed is a proprietary platform of muscle fibers and scaffolding to produce whole meat alternatives with the same colors, flavors, fat, texture and mouthfeel as traditional fish.

Instead of a high-temperature method, their technology relies on a series of cold processes to produce a product that initially appears “raw” and when cooked turns into flakes, similar to traditional salmon.

“For all of these cooling steps in our process, off-the-shelf equipment from adjacent industries that use freezing can be used, but not for this purpose, and that’s really important because a lot of the things that are trying to be an alternative to extrusion are there are quite a few too many, they are science fiction. , and there is no sophisticated infrastructure,” said Bryson. “When it comes to feeding the world in a relatively short period of time, using scalable turnkey equipment that can handle large volumes, we can feed large numbers of people very quickly and reliably. ”

New School Foods Vegetable-Based Raw Salmon Fillet Photo Credit: New School Lunch

sizing and production

Bryson plans to use the new funding to continue to focus on research and development; Expansion of the corporate team of about ten people, especially in the field of nutrition scientists; expansion of scaffolding technology; and build a research and production facility.

New School Foods opened a branch in Toronto last month and will announce the plan in a few months, he said.

Meanwhile, the company plans to sell through restaurants and has launched a chef-only pilot program in North America to establish a product council and also generate interest as the product prepares for distribution later this year.

“In addition to developing our salmon product and refining it with restaurants later this year, we are also building our own production facilities,” said Bryson. “We also know that this technology has much more potential than salmon, so we don’t plan to stop there.”

Source: La Neta Neta