The alternative meat industry is rapidly gaining traction worldwide, as numerous companies strive to develop environmentally-friendly products. While Beyond Meat and Impossible Food are familiar names in this sector, new players like Planted, Juicy Marbles, and Hoxton Farms are emerging as leading players in the European market, each offering distinct innovations.
Another one joining from the Mediterranian ground, a Spanish foodtech plant-based meat startup Heura Foods is also making news waves. The Barcelona-based startup has closed €40 million in Series B funding in one of the largest plant-based rounds, this year so far. This round follows the €20 million investment that was raised back in 2022. With this investment, the total funding raised by the company accounts for €56 million.
The latest investment came from the largest plant-based manufacturer, Upfield, Unovis Asset Management, alongside prominent food tech fund, European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF VC), and New Tree Impact. At this point in time, TFN had a questionnaire with Heura Foods, co-founder Marc Coloma.
The investment will allow Heura Foods to boost its impact in the food industry, accelerate international expansion, and explore new collaboration models beyond its own branded meat alternatives. Already, the Spanish startup has set its footprint across key markets such as the UK, France, and Italy.
How was the idea born?
Established in 2017 in Barcelona by food activists Bernat Añaños and Marc Coloma, the venture stems from Marc’s longstanding involvement in social activism, starting at the age of 16. In 2015, he engaged in an entrepreneurship program aimed at devising solutions to contemporary food system challenges. His ongoing objective remains the creation of appealing alternatives, ultimately rendering livestock obsolete.
Bernat has an international career that ranges from institutional communications at the European Parliament to launching startups in China. His passion is to devote his energy and time to projects that have a positive impact. Both Bernat and Marc have backgrounds in activism, and they met in an entrepreneurship program in Barcelona.
Sustainable meat alternatives
The company uses a technology called process-controlled microstructure design to change the structure of proteins at the micro-scale. It heavily uses soy, which is known for its negative impact on the environment.
They make plant-based meat from high-protein and GMO-free legumes, in flour form and mix it with the best ingredients known to their Mediterranean heritage like extra virgin olive oil, spices (thyme, basil, cumin, and more), and other natural ingredients.
The company’s plant-based meat list includes chicken strips and chunks, beef burgers, and vegan pork. Currently, Heura is present in over 22,000 points of sale in 17 countries around the world.
Marc added, “We are a purpose-driven startup, founded with the mission to address the challenges posed by the existing food system. Our approach extends beyond merely creating meat alternatives; we aspire to pioneer the next generation of products, ensuring they consistently deliver on taste, nutritional excellence, and sustainable sourcing. A key emphasis for us is on proprietary technology, which serves as our distinctive competitive advantage. This technology is meticulously designed to address not just one, but all pillars of importance: sustainability, taste, and nutrition.”
Patent for meat alternatives
In April last year, the company filed its first patent that allows never-seen-before nutritional values additive-free that can be applied across multiple plant-based food categories, such as deli meats, but also whole cuts (meats and fish) and dairy products.
Within a mere five months of filing, this pioneering method has been applied in producing the first additive-free “York-style”. It is touted to be the top rotating product per store/day in just three months of its launch.
“We are thrilled as this is a recognition of Heura’s vision at the forefront of Europe’s protein transition,” stated Marc Coloma CEO and co-founder of Heura Foods. “To change the food system we need to move the pressure from consumers to the food industry, placing health and sustainability as a must. This new chapter will drive us to profitability while allowing us to develop breakthrough tech to tackle the key challenges within the industry in a scalable way.”
David Haines, Group CEO of Upfield said, “We’re excited to be leading Heura’s latest investment round and partnering with a pioneering food-tech focused on making waves with clean label technologies that deliver both on nutrition and taste. Through our investment and strategic partnership, we’ll jointly advance research & development, to fast-track innovation in the plant-based cheese category. We look forward to supporting Heura’s team in accelerating the plant-based transition, aligned on a joint mission to transform the global food system to one that offers consumers more affordable and delicious plant-based options, shaping the Future of Food.”