Hoxton Farms has announced a £19.5 million Series A round to build a pilot facility for producing cultivated fat.

The startup believes this is the missing ingredient necessary to revolutionise how meat alternatives look, cook and taste. Once it receives regulatory approval, Hoxton Farms will sell cultivated fat as a B2B ingredient.

The team – which raised $3.6m seed funding led by Founders Fund last year – uses machine learning and mathematical modelling to develop proprietary bioreactors and low-cost animal-free culture media – the nutrient-rich broth used to feed cells. 

Hoxton Farms says it has proven the enabling technology for its production platform. Now the startup is building a 13,000 sq ft pilot facility in Shoreditch, East London, to scale up its manufacturing capacity.

The Series A was led by Collaborative Fund – an early backer of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat – and Fine Structure Ventures, a venture capital fund affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments.

Other participants in the round include Systemiq Capital, AgFunder, MCJ Collective, and previous investors Founders Fund, BACKED VC, Presight Capital, CPT Capital, and Sustainable Food Ventures. 

“We are obsessed with fat,” said co-founder Max Jamilly. “Fat is the single most important sensory component in all of the meat that we eat. 

“Using cultivated fat alongside plant proteins, we have shown that we can make products with the juiciness and flavour that plant-based meat has been missing. 

“We’re now building our pilot plant in central London so that we can show visitors a new way of making the same delicious meat.

“Growth in the plant-based meat market has slowed to a crawl. There is more choice than ever before, but consumers miss the delicious flavour and juicy texture of traditional meat.”

“Meat alternatives need significant improvement before we can make a dent in the intensive animal agriculture industry and shut down the last factory farm on Earth. This is where Hoxton Farms comes in.”

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The company says existing ‘alternative proteins’ underperform due to plant oils: coconut, sunflower, palm and canola oil taste funky, degrade quickly, burn easily, melt inconsistently and aren’t as healthy as they seem. Manufacturers add flavourings and other ingredients to the label in an attempt to make up for the deficiencies of plant oils, but this only makes products unhealthy and unsatisfying.

To deliver on the promise of meat made in a better way, Hoxton Farms cultivates real animal fat in bioreactors. 

Ed Steele, co-founder, added: “Cost and scale are two of the biggest challenges in the cellular agriculture industry, but they aren’t talked about enough. 

“Since we started Hoxton Farms, we have been laser-focussed on solving these problems and, thanks to our computational approach, have made significant breakthroughs. We’ve also built an incredible team, novel technology and important customer partnerships. Collaborative Fund and Fidelity are the perfect partners as we build our pilot plant and demonstrate our scale-out production process.”

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