Plant-based meat company Fable is partnering with Heston Blumenthal to launch its first product and has raised $1.5 million from Blackbird Ventures, Grok Ventures and food industry angel investors.
The start-up was founded by Michael Fox, Shoes of Prey co-founder, fine dining chef and mycologist Jim Fuller, and organic mushroom farmer Chris McLoghlin.
Fable’s products use shiitake mushrooms to mimic the taste and texture of meat. The funds will be used to develop additional meat alternatives based on mushrooms and expand production and distribution through restaurants, food service and retail.
Fable joins the list of ANZ start-ups pioneering meat alternatives, including Sunfed Meats and V2Food which recently raised $35 million and purchased a 55,470sqm site in Wodonga to manufacture plant-based meat products locally. Backed by Hungry Jack founder Jack Cowan, V2Food is already used in the Rebel Whopper, a meat-free version of the fast food company’s famous hamburger.
Fable is starting a little further upmarket. Its plant-based pulled pork and beef brisket will be served at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Crown Towers. Fable ingredients are expected to arrive on more fine dining menus across Australia and Singapore over the coming months.
“In today’s world, we need to be mindful about what we eat,” Blumenthal said. “The new Fable product combines the natural benefits of shiitake mushrooms with fantastic innovation resulting in something that not only tastes great but can be used in a variety of ways as a meat alternative. Through the last months, we have been extensively testing the product with some of our recipes and realised that this product goes beyond replacing meat, it should be in a category of its own!”
Fox, whose previous business Shoes of Prey closed down in March, said Fable wants to create “ unabashedly delicious meat alternatives” to make it easy for health conscious consumers to reduce their meat consumption.
“Our mission is to create the most delicious plant-based meat products while maximising the use of whole food base ingredients and minimising processing,” Fable Co-Founder and CEO Fox said.
“We focus on taste and texture first. I’m Texan and grew up on BBQ,” said Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Jim Fuller. “Our goal with Fable has been to recreate the taste and texture of pulled pork and beef brisket, two of my favourite meats.”
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Chris McLoghlin, said mushrooms have the natural umami flavours found in meat and are naturally nutritious.
“We’ve been able to create a product which is first and foremost delicious and satisfying. It’s based on shiitake mushrooms and we minimise the processing. It’s very good for you and very good for the environment,” McLoghlin said.