Grounded Foods, which makes plant-based versions of different cheeses, announced today that it has raised a $1.74 million seed round of funding (hat tip to vegconomist). Stray Dog Capital led the round, with participation from participation from Rocana Ventures, Veg Invest Trust and the GlassWall Syndicate.

Grounded Foods, which is part of the Big Idea Ventures accelerator, uses a proprietary fermentation process to transform its primary ingredient cauliflower (with some help from other ingredients like hemp and oats) into versions of camembert, grueyere and feta. We tried it earlier this year and found it to be a pretty tasty facsimile of the “real” thing.

And there are very real dollars in recreating “real” cheese. The U.S. cheese market is projected to hit $45.5 billion by 2027. And according to The Good Food Institute, sales of plant-based cheese grew more than 50 percent between 2017 – 2019 to reach nearly $190 million.

But getting a plant-based version of dairy-based cheese isn’t that easy. There are a number of factors that must be overcome including flavor, texture, and meltability.

That’s why there are actually a number of companies working on plant-based cheese right now. Heartbest uses quinoa, araminth and peas and is already sold in markets. GOOD PLANeT Foods uses coconut oil and potato starch and is also widely available at retail. Noquo Foods works with a “stable matrix” of legumes. Legendairy Foods and New Culture are both trying to recreate cheese through microbes in various lab techniques.

As Grounded Foods and all of these other companies perfect their technology and improve their products, it’s easy to see how that number will continue to grow into the future.

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