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French food-tech UMIAMI secures US$34.7 million to drive plant-based chicken innovation and US growth

October 20, 2023

UMIAMI, the French food-tech company specializing in plant-based meat alternatives, has successfully raised US$34.7 million, bringing its total funding to an impressive US$107 million in just three years. To underline its growth and commitment to the US market, the company is opening up a headquarters in Chicago, and will recruit locally.

This new funding round allows the entry of BPI France's SPI fund, renowned for its expertise in long-term support for industrialization projects, and demonstrates the strength of Umiami's development and industrialization strategy. The company has also received renewed support from its historical investors, such as Astanor Ventures, Redalpine, Newfund, Verso Capital, and French Tech Seed.

This substantial injection of capital will be instrumental in advancing UMIAMI's cutting-edge 'umization' process.  This unique technology has disrupted plant-based meat production as it is the world’s first ever process to be able to create flawlessly, on a large scale, plant-based fillets that perfectly mimic animal meat (whole cuts): both in taste and texture, with equivalent nutritional value.

Importantly, UMIAMI's innovative approach uses under 10 ingredients and methylcellulose-free, without any texturizing agents or controversial additives, with the goal to develop the next level of clean label plant-based meat. Furthermore, UMIAMI's unique plant-based chicken fillet is able to please every palate as it can be prepared in several ways, including grilled, breaded, fried, marinated, and sauced.

UMIAMI's growth strategy is centered on three key pillars: revolutionizing plant-based meat with cutting-edge technology; US market entry; and European expansion.

UMIAMI will accelerate the industrialization of its game-changing 'umization' technology, which has the potential to revolutionize the plant-based meat industry worldwide. This positions the startup at the forefront of a new generation of alternatives, providing a solution for those who want to reconcile their love for meat with concerns about climate, health, and animal welfare.

Following the success of its industrial pilot program in the Paris region, UMIAMI is poised to become a global leader in plant-based meat and fish alternatives. The launch of its new factory in Alsace allows the company to benefit from a 7,500 tons capacity with its first production line, and plans to increase the capacity of its French facility to 20,000 tons in the medium term.

UMIAMI is gearing up to establish itself the United States, a highly developed market for plant-based meat alternatives. To deliver this strategic roadmap, UMIAMI has hired John Hatto, a seasoned CPG executive, as its new US Managing Director. With over 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, including leadership roles at Lamb Weston and PepsiCo, John Hatto brings a wealth of expertise to guide UMIAMI's US expansion.

UMIAMI’s US headquarters will be established in Chicago, taking advantage of the city's rich food industry talent pool, central location, and dynamic culinary scene. In the coming years, UMIAMI expects to hire locally to support its growth. Their food service-first approach aligns seamlessly with Chicago's vibrant dining landscape. It plans to fill the void for delectable plant-based offerings and cater to a diverse range of outlets seeking delicious and ethical plant-based food options, from quick-service restaurants to Michelin-starred fine dining eateries.

With its recent funding success and plans to innovate and break into the US market, UMIAMI ambitions to overhaul plant-based meat globally and offer a taste experience that appeals to all palates. Taste matters, and UMIAMI aims to be a leader in clean-label plant-based meat, offering a diverse and great-tasting product portfolio that appeals to all. To achieve this, plans are underway to set up a plant in North America to add to their existing production facility in Europe, to best serve its clients’ needs.

The company will continue its growth in Europe, focusing on well-established plant-based markets such as Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy, where it is already collaborating with chefs, some of them Michelin-starred. Already making waves in the food service and retail sectors across these countries, UMIAMI plans to unveil exciting new partnerships in early 2024.

Tristan Maurel (CEO) and Martin Habfast (Export Director), UMIAMI co-founders, said, “As French innovators, we're excited to bring UMIAMI's 'umization' technology to the American table. Our unique plant-based chicken, born in France, is set to conquer hearts and taste buds across the USA.

Chicago, with its culinary diversity, is the perfect home for us as we blend French expertise with American flavor. We're on a mission to make great-tasting, sustainable food accessible to all, from diners to Michelin-starred restaurants. UMIAMI's French roots empower us, and with John Hatto leading the way, we're ready to leave our mark in the US and inspire a global shift towards sustainability.”

“As the new General Manager for UMIAMI North America, I'm thrilled to lead the way in introducing our groundbreaking 'umization' technology to the American palate," said John Hatto, General Manager, UMIAMI North America. "With a deep background in the US food industry, I recognize the incredible potential for UMIAMI to redefine taste, sustainability, and choice.

UMIAMI is here to transform how America eats, from quick service to fine dining and eventually kitchens across America. Our journey is poised to make a significant impact, and I'm excited to collaborate with our partners as we usher in a new era of plant-based food.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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