Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Exclusive: Mush Foods raises $6.2M for new alt meat category

Illustration of a piece of steak on a flat top grill in the shape of an upward trend line

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mush Foods, a food tech company, raised a $6.2 million seed to scale its hybrid protein blends in the U.S., CEO Shalom Daniel tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Plant-based meat and meat alternatives as a category have experienced a decline in sales, but there is still investor appetite for innovation in the food space.

Details: The round was led by Israel's Viola Ventures, with participation from food tech incubator TKH, Siddhi Capital, and Arc Impact.

  • The company has enough capital runway for sales and operations to get it through the beginning of 2025, at which point it hopes it will already be prepping for its next growth round in the low two-figure millions.
  • It aims to reach $1 million in sales by the end of 2024, Daniel says.

How it works: Mush Foods offers a 50% meat, 50% mushroom product, combining mushroom root blends with ground beef and other meat.

  • The mycelium, or mushroom root structure, is grown indoors without light, mimicking the conditions underneath the ground.
  • The company cuts, roasts and grinds the mycelium, and reduces its moisture level, so that it still retains its texture and can bind with the meat.
  • The technique is designed to reduce the carbon footprint of the meat as well as the cost.

What they're saying: "Instead of waiting to convince everyone that they need to convert their diet to a 100% vegan diet, we think we can bring a lot of impact by reducing 50% of the meat consumption in the meat industry," Daniel says.

Catch up fast: Mush launched its first pilot production in November, and has been building its inventory so that it can distribute to its first clients in the coming weeks.

  • The company has moved its technology and team from Israel to the U.S.
  • Production is taking place near Bridgeton, New Jersey, at Rutgers food innovation facility, which is also the same plant that Impossible Foods started in, Daniel says.
  • Mush Foods is also working with an agricultural company in the Hudson Valley to provide it with the mushrooms

What's next: The company will target food service companies, like restaurants, catering and cafeterias first.

  • It will then move into retail, but with partnerships with other brands instead of its own.
  • This helps reduce customer acquisition costs, but it also builds demand through the chefs, restaurants and caterers.

The big picture: Within the next five years, Danel hopes Mush Foods will be nationwide, and hopefully be partnering with the biggest meat distributors, catering companies and restaurants.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note production is taking place near Bridgeton, not Princeton, New Jersey, and to correct the name of CEO Shalom Daniel.

Go deeper