Small plant, big protein opportunity: is Jackfruit the next meat substitute?

Jackfruit offers a tasty and nutritious alternative ingredient to pork products as it can be cooked and shredded like the real thing. Startups will enjoy its versatility, replicating the exact taste and texture of pork which is key to developing plant-based proteins consumers will invest in. Although the plant is native to India as well as Southeast Asia and South America, as its popularity grows and plant-based demand sweeps the globe, could we be seeing jackfruit-based meat products on European supermarket shelves in the near future?

green fruits on tree during daytime
This all comes after Singapore-based Karana announced yesterday that it has closed a $1.7 million seed round to further develop its plant-based meat products derived from jackfruit. With the innovative startup planning to use its secured funding to launch its plant-based product across Asia, is jackfruit the perfect alternative ingredient to animal meat? Jackfruit is a healthy, low-sugar and immunity-boosting substitute that offers vegans and meat-eaters alike the perfect alternative to processed meats.

bowl of foodDutch company Meetjack is an alternative meat startup on a mission to turn jackfruit into a portfolio of vegan whole food products including burgers, meatballs and croquettes. And they arent the only company trying to normalize the use of jackfruit in alternative meat production. The Jackfruit Company CEO Annie Ryu visited India for the first time in 2011 and immediately saw a white space for a new innovative food opportunity. She realized a lot of jackfruit was going to waste in the country and she wanted to find a solution to convert this food waste into a resource and added income for farming communities — all while delivering a tasty and healthy meat-alternative food product to people back home.

The market for alternative protein has been busy over the last few months. Its already been quite the week for plant-based startups with cell-based meat companies IntegriCulture and Shiok Meats announcing their partnership, plant-based ice cream pioneer Perfect Day making its very own funding announcement and fake chicken startup NUGGS (the TESLA of chicken) also raising a significant amount in investment to
further expand its operations.

cooked foodMeat-free sales have risen over the last few months, in part due to covid-induced problems that have left a gap in the market for plant-based brands to slot into. With meat factories closing their doors and a dwindling meat supply, it was the ripe time for plant-based startups to make their move. With greater consumer acceptance, offerings closer than ever to the real thing and higher nutritional values than animal products, the industry has become marked at over a billion dollars. The covid crisis has only accelerated this transformation, for example pioneer Impossible Foods began 2020 with its products in a small handful of grocery stores across the US. Now? They´re present in over 2,700 locations, an 18-fold increase since the start of the year.

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