Motif FoodWorks raises $226m in Series B, gears up for launch of ingredient to transform flavor and performance of plant-based meat

Powered by Ginkgo Bioworks​’​​​ ​bioengineering platform, Motif FoodWorks​ was founded in early 2019, and will commercialize its first ingredient – designed to improve the flavor and performance of plant based meat​ – by the end of this year, with a second ingredient focused on improving texture in plant-based meat, to follow in early 2022.

The latest funding will be spent on R&D, new hires, and scaling up production ahead of the commercial launch of Motif’s first ingredients, said the company, which says plant-based meat and dairy alternatives have improved considerably, but do not yet match consumer expectations on taste or texture, especially when it comes to ‘craveable’ products such as cheese and meat.

First ingredient billed as ‘real game changer in the industry for plant-based meat flavor’

CTO Dr Mike Leonard – who recently spoke to us​ about technologies licensed from the University of Guelph and Coasun Inc. that create melt and stretch in plant-based cheese, and fat marbling in plant-based meat – said the new funding was “a huge deal​” in the alt meat/dairy space.

He told FoodNavigator-USA: “We’re a food tech company working to make plant based foods better tasting, more nutritious, and so desirable that people actually crave them… and this​ [the latest funding round] is another vote of confidence in the approach that we’re taking.”

Dr Mike Leonard, CTO, Motif FoodWorks landscape

Dr Mike Leonard, CTO, Motif FoodWorks: ‘We’re not just focused on one type of technology.’ Picture: Motif FoodWorks

Motif’s first ingredient – which is being produced via precision fermentation (via microbes that have been engineered using synthetic biology to produce target molecules using Ginkgo’s bioengineering platform) – is a ‘muscle protein’ that is “going to be a real game changer in the industry for plant-based meat flavor,” ​claimed Leonard, who said more details will be shared later this year. 

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