San Francisco-based Eat Just on Tuesday said that it raised USD 200 million in a new round led by the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and with participation of US-based private equity firms Charlesbank Capital Partners and Vulcan Capital. The food tech startup aims to scale up its commercial manufacturing operations, reduce production costs, and ramp up research and development of other types of meat.
The news comes shortly after the firm announced in October to build its first Asian factory in Singapore, the first country in the world that in December approved the sale of lab-grown meat to the public.
The decision was seen as a milestone in the cultured meat market, which also paved the way for Eat Just to launch its cell-based chicken products. The meat, produced in laboratories using animal cells instead of slaughtering, is available for diners in Singapore’s high-end restaurants.
Founded in 2011, the company was first known for its plant-based liquid egg product, Just Egg, that is made from turmeric and protein-rich mung beans. To date, the startup has bagged over USD 650 million, raising its valuation to unicorn status.
Eat Just claims it so far sold 100 million eggs across 20,000 retails points and 1,000 food service locations in the US, but has also been capturing the rising demand for alternative meat products in Asia. In China, it partnered with the top fast-food chain Dicos in January to offer its egg products on the regular menu.
“Just Egg sales have grown substantially in China in 2020, up more than 40% on Tmall and JD.com in recent months,” head of communications Andrew Noyes told KrASIA in October. “China alone produces about 435 billion eggs per year and presents a massive opportunity.”