Today Alpha Foods, a company making meatless proteins and frozen plant-based heat-and-eat meals, announced that it has raised $28 million. The funding round was led by VC fund AccelFoods with support from Alpha Foods’ existing partners New Crop Capital, Green Monday, and Blue Horizon.
As of today Alpha Foods has raised a total of $41 million. The company will channel its new funding into marketing, new hires, and product R&D.
Founded in 2015, Alpha Foods sells a range of plant-based food options, from frozen premade meals like burritos and pot pies to standalone meat alternatives like ground “beef” and fried “chicken” patties. They currently offer 27 SKUs, which range in price from $3 to $6 and are sold in 8,000 retailers nationally.
Though their first products were frozen plant-based grab-and-go meals, Alpha Foods is currently pivoting to focus more heavily on what Cole Orobetz, Co-Founder and President of Alpha Foods, calls “center of the plate” proteins. When I spoke to him over the phone last week he said that the brand would emphasize their frozen meat alternative line going forward.
These standalone proteins are sold chiefly through retail but made their foodservice debut last year. Orobetz told me that foodservice would actually be more of a focus for the company in 2020, specifically around sales of their plant-based meats. “We definitely see an opportunity in fast food,” he said. Orobetz also mentioned fast-casual chains and foodservice operations like cafeterias as potential partners.
Last March after Alpha Foods had raised $7 million, I wrote:
… what sets Alpha Foods apart is the convenience factor. They make complete, ready-to-eat meals, most of which — like handheld pot pies or vegan burritos — are meant to be eaten on the go. No extra preparation or ingredients needed.
Back then, I thought that Alpha Foods could stand out from its better-funded companies — like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat — by emphasizing its grab-and-go factor. However, it looks like the company is now pivoting away from that model to get more into the cutthroat world of base plant-based meats ingredients, which means it’s going to have even more competition to deal with.
That said, Alpha Foods makes an array of products that bigger companies like Impossible and Beyond don’t — specifically plant-based chicken nuggets and patties. Given the number of QSR’s jumping on the alternative meat bandwagon, Alpha Foods still has a chance to establish a foodservice market for its products. And an additional $28 million in funding could help give them the extra muscle they need to carve out its place in the game.