The sausages are made with a blend of pea, soy, and chickpea protein with beetroot added for a “rosy color”. The products are free from GMO ingredients, food colorings, artificial flavors, or enhancers and the pork flavor comes from natural flavors and spices. They are coated with a neutral-tasting seaweed ‘skin’ that emulates the crispiness of traditional pork sausages.
“To make our sausage vegan, following the principles of the enterprise, we had to develop this seaweed ‘skin’ with a partner producer," said the company's founder, Marcos Leta, without revealing what variety of seaweed is used for the sausage casing. "In that process, we wanted to make sure that the flavor of the sausage would be kept equal to the flavor of the animal version. Part of that was making the seaweed flavor and smell as neutral as we could, so we removed [the seaweed taste].”
The sausages, which will launch in April in Brazil and the Netherlands, have a 17% protein content and add to Fazenda Futuro’s portfolio of products consisting of its Futuro Burger, ground meat and meatballs.
US$8.5 million in Series A
Although Fazenda Futuro is a newcomer – it was founded in May last year – it has quickly made a name for itself in the plant-based category. In July last year, the startup received its first round of investments with Monashees and investment firm Go4it Capital acquiring an 8.5% stake for US$8.5 million. The transaction valued Fazenda Futuro at around US$100 million.
The company was founded by Marcos Leta, a Rio de Janeiro-based food entrepreneur and investor. In 2009, Leta founded the healthy drinks company, Do Bem, which was acquired in 2016 by Brazilian brewery and drinks manufacturer Ambev, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev. Leta has also invested in plant-based companies including Good Catch Foods and, more recently, Brazilian sports nutrition brand, Mother Nutrients.
Flavor and sustainability
Fazenda Futuro’s products are not on par in price with animal protein equivalents but Leta said scaling up to bring down costs is one of the company’s major objectives.
“[…] an enterprise as ours is a part of a not distant future that has come to disrupt the way we relate to flavor and sustainability. Everybody can do a bit for the planet without giving up eating what one likes,” Leta told FoodNavigator-LATAM.
“I believe that we came to revolutionize this outdated market which is the one of animal meat. We continue with our goal of [evolving] with the new versions of our meat and reaching a volume that allows us to be cheaper than animal meat.”
Fazenda Futuro’s products are listed in more than 6,000 points of sale, including Pão de Açúcar, Verdemar, and Carrefour. The sausage will be launched in these supermarkets, as well as retailers in the Netherlands with a suggested retail price of BR$17 in Brazil and €4 in Europe.
The startup worked with plant-based food advocacy group The Good Food Institute (GFI) for several years to formulate its products and bring them to market.
In 2018, GFI conducted a market survey in Brazil involving 9,000 participants to determine interest in vegetarian and plant-based foods. It found that nearly 30% of respondents said that they were moving toward reducing their consumption of animal products or were already vegetarian, indicating a potential market of 60 million interested eaters.
The country has recently seen several meat analog product launches. Seara, a premium brand owned by JBS meat giant launched its ‘Incredible’ burgers while Marfrig recently rolled out its plant-based burgers in Burger Kings across Brazil. Superbom, which claims to be Brazil’s biggest vegan and vegetarian manufacturer, launched a pea protein burger last year.