Vesta Food Lab, a Chinese plant-based substitute startup has completed a new round of financing worth RMB 16 million (USD 2.3 million) led by Xuerong Biotech, a Shanghai-listed, mushroom-focused food company. The new round of financing will be used in ramping up its research and development, as well as construction of its new production plant.
The public company announced that it would work with Vesta to explore “plant-based meat” meals based on edible mushroom protein. Through this investment, Xuerong Biotech can also give full play to its own advantages, providing Vesta with all-around support in funding, factory management, industrialized operation and sales channels.
The Beijing-based startup has also announced a strategic partnership with Jin Ding Xuan, a local restaurant chain in Beijing with which the two sides will cooperate in food research and development. Huicui, the Chinese brand operated by Vesta, has previously developed a special plant-based minced meat for Jin Ding Xuan’s staple Dan Dan noodle. The well-known restaurant chain will further explore the field of plant-based food with their lifestyle brand, Shanzai.
Xie Zihan, founder and CEO of Vesta, told Pandaily that the company has faith in the growth of meatless meals in the Chinese food scene. “There is a huge difference of both cooking techniques and taste preferences between Chinese customers and their western counterparts.” said Xie, “We are using a taste development model based on a large database of research to guide the development of our product, and aim to become the best vegan meat maker for Chinese domestic consumers.”
Vesta is a R&D-driven plant-based protein company that was certified as a Zhongguancun High-tech Enterprise in February. In April, Vesta cooperated with the popular instant noodle brand, RamenTalk, to launch a vegan pasta product, and was able to sell out an initial supply of 60,000 packages in less than 80 seconds. The company utilizes locally grown non-GMO soy beans as the raw material to fulfill contemporary consumers’ demands for low calorie, low purine, cholesterol-free and rich-in-fiber foods.
Dedicated to developing plant-based protein products that cater to Chinese tastes, Vesta’s proprietary “nanofascia” technology enables its product to retain the meaty and chewy taste even after being boiled, steamed or soaked in saucesfor long.