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Heura Foods grabs €40m funding on road profitability

Heura Foods has netted a new round of funds but the plant-based business has yet to turn a profit almost seven years after the Spanish company was set up.

Announcing €40m ($42.9m) in Series B financing, Barcelona-based Heura Foods said the capital “will drive the company to profitability and fortify its position as an industry frontrunner”.

Upfield, the spreads business behind brands including Flora and Becel, led the new cash injection. Other contributors featured Unovis Asset Management, the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, which is a venture fund backed by the European Investment Bank, and agri-food investor New Tree Impact in Belgium.

The fresh financing builds on the €20m bridge capital Heura Foods received in 2022 on the back of a €16m Series A the prior year.

“We are thrilled as this is a recognition of Heura’s vision at the forefront of Europe’s protein transition,” co-founder and CEO Marc Coloma said in a statement. “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.”

Founded in April 2017 by Coloma and Bernat Añaños, Heura Foods manufactures plant-based products ranging from burgers, sausages and chicken to fish fillets and fingers.

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By GlobalData

The business predominately supplies markets in Europe, including the UK, France and Austria, but also has distributors further afield in locations such as Singapore, Canada and Chile, Coloma told Just Food in an interview last March.

At the time, he said the company had no plans to enter the US, confirming sales revenue amounted to €31.4m in 2022. It generated €17.7m in 2021 and €2.5m a year earlier. However, he noted the plant-based industry more generally was showing signs of “stagnation” in an overcrowded market.

Almost a year on since that interview, category sales and volume growth are forecast to slow in the years ahead, according to estimates from Just Food’s parent company GlobalData plc. In 2023, a number of European producers in the sector went out of business, such as The Meatless Farm and Plant & Bean.

Heura Foods’ statement continued: “The company remains steadfast in its goal of launching what they call ‘successor’ products with the highest repeat rates in the category, while expanding its business through tech licensing and thereby enticing a broader audience to accelerate the food system transformation.”

David Haines, the CEO of Upfield, suggested Heura Foods has had to give up further shares in the business in return for the investment, as it did in previous rounds. Coloma said last year he and Añaños were still the majority owners.

“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,” Haines said.

“Through our investment and strategic partnership, we’ll jointly advance research and development to fast-track innovation in the plant-based cheese category.”

Spotlight: Plant-based meat growth plumbs depths as pruning takes hold

Heura Foods confirmed the company filed a patent last April, which it said “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”.

A new product using the technology – an alternative to ham – has since been rolled out. Just Food has asked for more details on the product type and markets, along with Heura Foods’ expectations to reach profitability.

Heura Foods added in terms of the new investment: “This strategic coalition builds one of the biggest plant-based alliances, forming a board that will focus on top-notch tech to set new industry standards and allowing Heura to boost its impact in the food industry, accelerating international expansion and exploring new collaboration models beyond its own branded meat alternatives.”

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