Seattle-based plant-based meat startup Rebellyous Foods has announced that it has developed a new, patent-pending prototype production system that can produce plant-based meat at price parity with traditional meat.
The company says the new system, which it calls the Mock 1S, will ultimately reduce the cost of factory-based meat manufacturing by 95% through a combination of reduced labor through the automation, reduced energy consumption and 90% reduction in waste, and other improvements.
What makes the new Mock 1S system more efficient than traditional plant-based meat making? According to Christie Lagally, CEO of Rebellyous, the system is tailor-made for plant-based meat manufacturing, whereas traditionally plant-based meat makers have used conventional food processing infrastructure that is not designed for work.
“If you walked into a typical meat plant, it would be the exact same equipment you would see in a typical meat processing plant,” Lagally said.
According to Lagally, plant-based meat production plants today use bowl grinders, cups, and conveyor belts that combine to texturize dry proteins, emulsify oils, water, and starch, and possibly mix everything together. With the Mock 1S, she says, the system performs “just-in-time hydration” and emulsifies and mixes dough at the correct temperature in an automated process flow, all without the use of conveyor belts or unnecessary steps.
Lagally, who is a former Boeing engineer, had a vision to reinvent plant-based meat-making since she founded the company as Seattle Food Tech in 2017. With this week’s announcement, she thinks they’ve taken an important step that will help her business increase production of the company’s plant-based chicken and offer it at the same prices you’d find at Tyson or other big producers of meat. In the longer term, she believes the system they have developed will allow them to produce their animal meat products much cheaper than traditional factory-farmed products.
When I asked her if she eventually plans to offer her system to others to help them increase production, she said they might eventually go that route, but for now they are happy with it. use for their product.
“It’s not on the table. But I’ll tell you, that’s not our first goal. Our first objective is to deploy. We just rolled out this new system, so we’re going to start using it to make plant-based chicken at a competitive price, we’re going to expand it. »
Lagally told me that with this milestone on the books, the company is now in fundraising mode to help invest in increasing its production capacity. The company plans to implement the next-generation Mock system (the Mock 2) at its current production facility and is beginning to look for a new location in 2023 where it can ramp up production to meet growing demand for its product.
And how big is this demand right now?
“We are now present in nearly 600 points of sale. We will announce a few new outlets and about a month. We serve 46 school districts ranging from northern Washington to the southern tip of California. »
While Lagally says they aren’t ready to publicly show the Mock 1 – they currently have 5 patents pending for the system – you can see a tour The Spoon took of the Rebellyous factory last year here to get a glimpse of their early thoughts on how to reinvent plant-based meat-making.