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Tender Closes US$11 million Series A and launches partnership with Clover

June 17, 2024

Tender Food Inc, a food technology startup based in Massachusetts, USA, has successfully closed over US$11 million in Series A funding. Led by Rhapsody Venture Partners, with existing investors Lowercarbon Capital and Safar Partners and new investors Claridge Partners and Nor’easter Ventures, the additional funding will allow Tender to further its goal of revolutionizing the way we produce and consume meat.

What's different about Tender? Its patented technology spins plant protein fibers like cotton candy to create structured cuts of meat. The result is hyper-realistic, nutritious, affordable, products with simple ingredients, in any format – from pulled pork to chicken breast to seafood to steak.

"Consumers are largely disappointed with plant-based meat products in the market – they’re too expensive, they don’t taste good, and are mostly limited to burgers and sausages with long, unrecognizable ingredient lists," said Christophe Chantre, Co-founder & CEO. "We need new technologies to address these challenges and drive meaningful adoption in this category, which is crucial for decarbonizing our food system. Our technology allows us to create healthy products that taste great, have the structure and feel of animal meat and are much cheaper to produce.”

Tender features its early products (beef short rib, pulled pork, chicken breast, and crab) at a wide range of restaurants and universities in the Boston area. Its latest partnership with Clover Food Lab brought Tender products to all Clover locations in May 2024.

“We're a popular vegetarian chain, so, as you can imagine, we try a lot of new plant-based products," added Chris Anderson, Senior Vice President at Clover. "Tender's stood out from the start – it's innovative, it's tasty, it's a great addition to our grain bowls and salads. And most importantly, we're hearing lots of positive feedback from our customers –90% of whom are meat-eaters!”

Tender aims to become the manufacturing platform for the industry, replacing traditional extrusion and ultimately animal agriculture. The latest funding will help the company scale up capacity at its new facility to millions of pounds and commercialize its first products at scale, while lowering production costs even further.

“Our production costs are already low today and we have barely started scaling,” says Chantre. “Offering products that compete with animal meat on price is critical for this industry to grow. Tender's technology solves this major challenge and will unlock tremendous industry growth.”

In a move that underscores Tender’s ambition to shape the industry, the company recently added Mike Messersmith, former North American President of Oatly, to its board of directors. Messersmith joined Oatly in 2017 and pioneered the company's US launch and growth for over seven years, building the brand from zero to a US oat milk category leader. His extensive industry experience further strengthens Tender’s leadership team as they accelerate commercialization.

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

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