Shanghai’s Haofood has announced a $3.5 million seed funding round for its vegan chicken made from peanut protein.
ProVeg, Monde Nissan CEO Henry Soesanto, Rich Products Ventures, and Big Idea Ventures all participated in the latest funding round. The new investment will be leveraged to improve and diversify numerous operational elements including increased R&D infrastructure, alongside wider sales channels and global distribution expansion.
Haofood says it is keen to tap into the growing market for plant-based foods within Asia and beyond. To progress R&D activities, the company says it will make significant expansions to its existing production facility.
Staying unique in the alt-protein market
Haofood debuted its peanut-based chicken in 2020. Since its initial launch, it has gone on to partner with multiple restaurants across Shanghai. Its protein has been used to create authentic local dishes. Now, it is seeking to widen the distribution network and reach new consumer demographics.
“The consumers today demand healthier and more sustainable foods, the creative use of peanuts gives Haofood’s chicken its great taste but it also has even more benefits to the environment in terms of reduced water usage,” investor Henry Soesanto said in a statement. “It stood out to me for its clever use of food technology where they have been able to develop a product that in such a short space of time in development.”
Food waste as nutrition
Haofood manufactures its plant-based chicken using a food industry by-product. Processed using its proprietary Innotein technology, the ingredient is transformed into a modified and textured protein source. The result, Haofood claims, is an umami flavor that doesn’t require the addition of MSG. The fresh funding round will support new iterations.
“We are honoured to have received backing from investors who share our passion for creating plant-based chicken alternatives that are not only sustainable, but that people enjoy,” Astrid Prajogo, founder and CEO of Haofood said in a statement. “Our team of experienced food industry professionals developed proprietary technology, The InnoteinTM, to create a variety of plant-based chicken from peanuts and other plant protein that has a distinctive texture and umami taste profile. With this round of funding we will be able to innovate further and make excellent quality alternative protein products more accessible for consumers in China and across Asia.”
Having made good on initial launches within China, key financing figures have expressed excitement about future international outreach from the startup.
Plant-based chicken flying off the shelves
Alternatives to conventional chicken are springing up at a staggering rate. Plant-based options are increasingly boasting comparable protein levels, with less fat and zero cholesterol, making them an easy substitution.
Last week, France’s Umiami debuted its first whole-cut vegan chicken breast. Simultaneously it revealed it had secured $30 million in a Series A funding round to help bring the meat analogue to market as soon as possible.
Over in Australia, V2food recently announced it is adding a plant-based chicken range to its portfolio. Already enjoying domestic and international success with its beef and pork alternatives, the move to chicken was a natural one.