In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in plant-based food alternatives. Vegan eggs, vegan cheese, vegan sausages, vegan burgers.
At first, they didn’t really taste like the real thing. But as this has improved, the final barrier towards a believable meat alternative has been texture.
But the vegan food industry has just undergone a revolution. Impossible Foods — and its major competitor Beyond Meat — have developed lab-grown red meat-substitutes that taste and look almost exactly like the real deal. The company’s soy- and potato-based Impossible Burger is a mixture of proteins, fats and binders — “like almost every burger you’ve eaten in your life,” the company boasts on its website.
It turns out the creator of the company, Patrick Brown, a biochemistry professor at Stanford, has also been working away on a similar revelation for the dairy industry.
And — at least on a financial basis — it’s been doing astonishingly well.
Kite Hill has developed a selection of milk and cheese products that they say are more healthy and sustainable than their dairy alternatives.
These include greek yoghurt, pasta, ricotta and almond yoghurt. Riding a wave of success across the plant-based industries — the plant-based milk and cheese industries continue to grow, while the dairy milk and cheese industries stagnate or drop — the company has raised a total of $80m to date, according to Crunchbase.
This may be thanks to the influence of Kite Hill co-founders Tal Ronnen, a celebrated chef at the vegan Los Angeles restaurant Crossroads Kitchen, and Monte Casino, a former instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Boston.
On its website, Kite Hill writes that it is “continuously inspired” by the idea that “imagination and integrity can send us all soaring to new heights.
“That’s why we’re on a mission to elevate your expectations of how amazing plant-based eating can be.
“Our founding chef, Tal Ronnen, brings ingenuity, imagination, and culinary excellence to every new food we share.”
While the funding to date is significant, Techcrunch reports that Kite Hill needs to compete in a busy marketplace, and against major dairy companies, such as Danone, that have made public commitments to triple the size of their investment in plant-based business by 2025.
Saad Sherida al-Kaabi