Tyson Ventures, the venture capital fund owned by Tyson Foods, announced an investment in San Francisco-based New Wave Foods. Tyson said New Wave focuses on plant-based shellfish and is working on a shrimp alternative protein for food service slated for launch by early 2020.
Tyson Foods did not disclose the amount of this investment, or any other details about the deal.
“We’re excited about this investment in the fast-growing segment of the plant-based protein market,” said Amy Tu, president of Tyson Ventures. “This continues our focus of identifying and investing in companies with disruptive products and breakthrough technologies related to our core business so we can continue to serve a growing global population.”
New Wave’s product is based on co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Michelle Wolf’s collaboration with a research and development team that included leading food scientists and academics. The company’s first offering, a plant-based shrimp, is made with sustainably sourced seaweed and plant protein, and contains all eight essential amino acids found in meats and seafoods. It also contains no allergens, zero cholesterol and is lower in calories and salt than real shrimp, the release states.
“We worked with the Culinary Institute of America to set the gold standard for this product and then created a plant-based shrimp that has had rave reviews from the thousands of people who have tasted it,” said Mary McGovern, CEO of New Wave Foods. “Our plant-based shrimp cooks and tastes just like the real thing, and it matches the texture, taste, performance and versatility of shrimp fresh from the ocean. The proof is in the overwhelming, positive response we have had to the product.”
McGovern said the product is a one-for-one swap for the real thing and completely interchangeable in a wide range of recipes.
“It gives chefs and food service operators great menu options while addressing consumers’ growing demand for sustainable choices,” she added.
New Wave Foods expects to announce the launch of its Series A round in the near future, according to the Tyson Foods release.
Springdale-based Tyson Foods launched in June the Raised & Rooted products which are an alternative to meat proteins and now sold in 5,000 U.S. retail stores, according to Tyson Foods CEO Noel White. He said the blended burgers are made from a combination of beef and plants and the nuggets are made solely from plants. White has said Tyson looks to its Ventures investments for insights and learnings into the foods of the future and technology.
Tyson launched the Ventures fund in December 2016 and has an investment in Memphis Meats and recently sold its stake in Beyond Meat, which is now publicly traded and a competitor to Tyson Foods.