Sydney, Australia-based Fable Food is the most recent plant-based food startup to declare funding. The organization, which uses mushrooms in its meat options, has raised $6.5 million AUD (about $4.8 million USD) in a seed round led by Blackbird Ventures, the Australian venture capital firm whose portfolio likewise incorporates Canva, Culture Amp, and SafetyCulture.
Different members included agriculture and food tech venture firm AgFunder, sustainability-focused Aera VC and Better Bite Ventures, alongside Singapore-based produce importer Ban Choon Marketing and previous Sequoia Capital partner Warren Hogarth.
Fable is getting ready to launch in the United States before the current year’s over. In Australia, its products are accessible at retailers like Woolworths, Coles, and Harris Farm Markets, alongside restaurants including Grill’d, which recently began serving its Meaty Mushroom Burger Pattie at 136 locations. Fable’s products are additionally accessible at restaurants in Singapore and the United Kingdom.
The startup was established in 2019 by fine-dining chef turned chemical engineer and mycologist (mushroom researcher) Jim Fuller, organic mushroom farmer Chris McLoghlin and Michael Fox, whose past startup was Shoes of Prey.
Fox, Fable’s CEO, told that after being a vegetarian for six years, he recently became a vegan “for a mix of health, environmental and ethical reasons.”
“Talking to my friends and family, a lot of people want to reduce their meat consumption for the same reasons but they find it challenging because they love the taste and texture of meat, and giving it up is hard,” Fox said. He wanted to figure out how to make it simpler for individuals to progress to plant-based food varieties, and spoke to a few chefs who recommended using mushrooms as a base ingredient. Then, at that point, Fox met Fuller and McLoghlin, who were currently creating meat options using mushrooms.
“When we met, we realized we shared the same values and goals and had complementary skill sets,” said Fox. “We shared a common desire to help end industrial agriculture and wanted to make our food system more ethical, healthy, sustainable and lower its greenhouse gas emissions.”
Fable’s first products incorporate a substitute for pulled pork, braised beef, and beef brisket (Fuller grew up in Texas eating slow-cooked meats and wanted to reproduce the experience), alongside a line of ready-made meals. The organization uses shiitake mushrooms, which Fox clarified are “very flavorful with their natural umami flavors, they are a slow-growing mushroom so they naturally have the fleshy fibers that give the meaty bite you typically get from animal proteins and have the right chemical composition that when cooked allow us to taste flavors that are found in animal products.”
Fuller serves as Fable’s chief science officer and the startup leverages his experience as a chef/chemical engineer/mycologist to make the right combinations of flavor, aroma, and texture while downplaying processing and ingredients. For example, its braised beef elective is made with shiitake mushrooms, seven different ingredients, and salt and pepper.
Fable additionally declared today it has named Dan Joyce, who was beforehand security and consistence software organization SafetyCulture’s general manager of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as chief growth officer to head global sales and marketing. It will launch in the U.S. through a combination of partnerships with restaurants and meal kit organizations.
Different startups that use mushrooms as the basis for meat alternatives incorporate Meati and AtLast. Fox said the main difference is that those two startups ferment mycelium, or the root structure of fungi, rather than using mushrooms, which are the fruiting body of fungi.
Fable’s new funding will be used for research and development, growing its production and manufacturing capacity in Australia and different nations. The organization is staying quiet about its product pipeline for the present, however, Fox said it intends to develop mushroom-based substitutes for pork, chicken, lamb, and other animal proteins.