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Meati Foods opens a mushroom “mega ranch” to take whole-cut fungus among us

A cluster of 6 mushrooms grow out of the ground in a forward facing view. trees and grass are in the background
Photo credit: Unsplash / Timothy Dyke

By 2025, mushroom protein company Meati Foods plans to meet the $1 billion in sales milestone. With the opening of its new “mega ranch” facility in Thornton, Colorado, a July $150 million Series C round, and a brand new extension round of $22 million, the startup will use “fungi's miraculous biotechnological power” to meet humanity’s needs with a brand new kind of meat: mushroom roots.

According to the company, the 100,000-square-foot animal-free production facility will match and often exceed the scale of the country’s animal-based ranches, and by late 2023, Meati Foods will be cultivating its protein at an annual rate of tens of millions of pounds.

The fully-integrated, resource-efficient facility was financed in part by the Series C round which brought the company to over $250 million in funding to date. The round was led by Revolution Growth, with the most recent contribution by Rockefeller Capital.

The startup uses mushrooms' structural fibers, mycelium. As the world’s largest known living thing, mycelium is the root of a Meati’s whole food which is 95% mushroom.

According to the company, the protein is full of fiber and other ingredients found in animal proteins like iron, B vitamins, and zinc. Despite the company’s name, the mycelium technically isn’t “mushroom meat,” because as Meati explains, mushrooms do not produce any fruiting bodies. Instead, the food is made out of the fibrous network itself.

Mushroom root has been used in food for centuries, especially in Asia as koji, serving as that umami flavor in miso and soy sauce. But, since at least the 1960s, mycelium has been harvested as a meat alternative.

Now, a handful of startups are establishing roots in the mushroom business, including FootPrint Coalition’s portfolio company MyForestFoods with their mushroom bacon, Drew Barrymore’s favorite Quorn, Prime Roots with their koji-meats, Zac Efron’s go-to Fable Foods, and Bosque Foods with whole-cut “chicken,” “pork,” and “bacon.”

According to Meati, what separates them from others is their efforts to make an entirely new meat.

“Investors and consumers recognize that Meati is a new, differentiated food. They only need to read our simple ingredient list and taste Meati to recognize that this is the cut-through option people have been waiting for – something they absolutely see weekly if not daily on their plates,” Tyler Huggins, CEO and co-founder of Meati Foods, said in a statement.

“Our belief that nature already has the answer to many of today’s challenges allowed us to unlock a new food with Meati at a time when consumers are demanding something different and better. Meati delivers an unparalleled food with its taste, texture, nutrition, and purity, and we’re thrilled to open this first and subsequent phases of the resource-efficient ‘Mega Ranch’ facility to help even more consumers add it to their diets.”

The product line produced at the new facility will include Eat Meati’s Classic Cutlet, Crispy Cutlet, Classic Steak, and Carne Asada Steak. According to the CEO via TechCrunch, the company may expand from these “core four” products, as they can make others all from the same processing line.

“2023 will be a big moment” for the company, he told the publication, pointing to the increase in meat alternative demands. The company definitely puts its mushrooms where its mouth is, because everything they produce over the course of the next year, is already pre-sold.

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