tender fooda Boston-based food tech startup, raised $12 million in a seed round featuring actress and animal rights activist Natalie Portman among other VCs, for uniquely textured plant-based meats.

Founded by Harvard engineers, Tender Food uses new technology to turn plant fibers into alternative meat, creating whole-muscle cut products like chicken breasts, pulled pork and steaks, and plans to launch its first products more late this year.

“Our ambition is to manufacture products that are indistinguishable from butcher’s meat”

Claiming that its new plant-based fiber spinning technology – similar to making cotton candy – gives its alternative meat analogues a texture more similar to animal meat, Tender Food will use the new funding to increase production of its next product lines. Tender Food claims its alternative meats have textures and cooking properties indistinguishable from animal meat, with nutrient profiles high in protein but without additives or fillers.

Natalie PortmanFacebook
Image source: Natalie Portman Official Facebook

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Food tech investor Unovis has joined the funding round, alongside Natalie Portman and other VCs. Unovis recently closed a second oversubscribed $166 million fund, while Natalie Portman has previously invested in vegan bacon specialist La Vie and mycelium pioneer MycoWorks.

“Our ambition is to manufacture products that are indistinguishable from butcher’s meat”, explains Christophe Chantre, CEO and co-founder of Tender. “By recreating the textures and fibers of animal-derived meats, we can ensure that whatever cut of meat you want, a plant-based product from Tender is what you’re looking for.”