Oakland, California-based Something Better Foods, a producer of various plant-based meat and seafood alternatives, raised $500,000 this week through ICA, a nonprofit venture capital fund. Something Better Foods aims to make plant-based foods more accessible to people of color, and ICA’s goal is to “…accelerate great businesses through mentoring and investments to close the racial and gender wealth gaps.”
Better Chew is Something Better Food’s brand, and its product line includes plant-based chicken patties, meatballs, fried chicken, steak, fried fish, chicken nuggets, breakfast sausage patties, and chicken patties. The company uses an undisclosed proprietary process to replicate the taste, texture, and look of meat. Better Food is focused on distributing its products through direct-to-consumer channels and foodservice outlets. One thing that sets Something Better Foods apart from other plant-based meat companies is that it has chosen to incorporate both equity and representation into its business model.
Healthy food and veganism movements often leave out marginalized communities, and this is a huge issue that both Something Better Foods and ICA are trying to offer solutions to. Low-income neighborhoods in the U.S. often only have immediate access to fast-food chains and convenience stores, and about 2.3 million people in the U.S. live in a food desert. Even if someone living in one of these communities wanted to eat healthy, fresh foods or try a plant-based diet, it would be incredibly challenging to access these foods.
This initial round of funding will be used to expand Something Better Foods’ operations and offer additional employment opportunities in the company’s local community. Something Better Foods’ is ICA’s most recent portfolio company and the venture capital fund has so far placed $1.5 million in growth equity to Bay Area companies, focusing on companies founded by entrepreneurs of color and women.