GOOD PLANeT Foods, a company that makes plant-based cheese, announced yesterday that it had raised a $12 million Series A round. The funding was led by Cleveland Avenue with participation by GreatPoint Ventures, Tasseo Consumer, Stray Dog Capital and Lever VC. This is the company’s total funding announced to date.
Based in Seattle, GOOD PLANeT makes vegan cheese — from shredded mozzarella to sliced cheddar — that doesn’t contain any soy, nuts, or GMOs. Instead, it’s made from coconut oil and potato starch plus natural flavorings.
Since it’s coconut oil-based the cheese will melt, which not all vegan cheeses, especially those made from nuts, can do. However, that also means that it’s high in saturated fat: a one-ounce serving of GOOD PLANeT’s shredded mozzarella contains 5.6 grams of saturated fat, or 28 percent of your daily recommended value.
GOOD PLANeT’s cheese is sold at major retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Whole Foods nationwide. With its new funding, GOOD PLANeT will expand production and reach.
We haven’t tasted GOOD PLANeT’s cheese ourselves, so I can’t pass judgment on how close it comes to the real thing. However, I’ve tried other coconut oil-based cheese before and find that it falls short, both on texture and flavor.
Cheese is one of the trickier products to successfully make vegan and tasty. Several startups out there, like Noquo Foods and Grounded Foods, are experimenting with new ingredients and formulations to make a better cheese alternative. On the more high-tech side, New Culture, Legendairy, and Perfect Day are using microbes to recreate actual dairy proteins to make cheese without the animal. However, none of these options are to market yet.
GOOD PLANeT’s funding does illustrate the continued interest in animal alternatives, even during COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic we’ve seen meat alternative companies attract significant amounts of investment as consumers flock to plant-based foods in the grocery store. Now it seems that dairy alternatives are also getting in on the action.