Umaroby Mel Oct 4, 2022 | 0 Votes | 88 Bought | 0 Reviews - rate Umaro Foods is a food tech startup that specializes in developing seaweed-based meat products. Its first product offering is a plant-based bacon slated to launch in the market in the last quarter of 2022 and recently snagged a $1 million investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank. Buy Now Similar Brands Bought
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Umaro Foods is a food tech startup that specializes in developing seaweed-based meat products. Its first product offering is a plant-based bacon slated to launch in the market in the last quarter of 2022 and recently snagged a $1 million investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank.
Umaro’s goal is to develop the most sustainable protein source on the planet: ocean-farmed seaweed and to establish a successful food system that supports a thriving planet and demands the humane treatment of animals.
And because Umaro acknowledges how hard it is for people to let go of the savory, addictive tastes of processed meat products such as bacon, they have spent the last two years searching the plant kingdom for similar flavor notes, qualities and textures. The result is Umaro Bacon, which is crispy when you bite into it, but quickly melts into smoky, umami richness.
Co-founded in 2018 in Berkeley by CEO Beth Zotter, a tech entrepreneur with a background in renewable energy, and CTO Amanda Stiles PhD who formerly led the Research team at Ripple Foods; Umaro Foods (formerly Trophic) uses proprietary red algae protein as a base for creating seaweed-based meat products.
“We are the first and only company to commercialize seaweed protein, and we have foundational intellectual property across the value chain,” Ms. Zotter said.
Umaro’s protein serves as a functional replacement for heme, mimicking blood in meat. Its first product offering, plant-based bacon captures the natural umami taste found in seaweed, along with adding chickpeas, coconut and sunflower oil encapsulated into a fat to replicate the greasy, crispy, crunchy taste and texture of bacon strips. Future product development plans include those for breakfast meat and other cured meats.
“We are pioneers at the forefront of a new frontier in protein,” Zotter said. “We’re developing advanced systems in high-tech ocean farming and precision protein extraction that will unlock the ocean as our future source of protein.”
Umaro Foods and founders Zotter and Stiles recently appeared on Season 13, Episode 18 of the popular reality TV show Shark Tank to pitch their company and ask for $500,000 in exchange for 2% equity. And while Shark Robert Herjavec actually spit out the product upon tasting it and quipped “I love bacon, don’t love this”, both Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner believed so much in the potential of Umaro with the fast-growing vegan market that they got into a bidding war, with Mark Cuban eventually snagging an investment deal worth $1 million. Through the deal, Umaro joins a growing roster of successful plant-based food companies backed by Cuban, including Unreal Deli, Legendary Burger, and vegan pet food brand Wild Earth.
Meanwhile, Umaro Foods continues to roll in the investment dough as its Shark Tank reveal came just days after Umaro announced a $3 million raise in Series A funding led by AgFunder. Previously, the company received $6 million in science and technology research awards, including the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, the Good Food Institute, and the Activate Fellowship.
What to Buy
Umaro Foods first commercially-available product Umaro Bacon is scheduled to launch in several restaurants in the last quarter of 2022. It will be available in three flavors: Original, Maple Bourbon, and Hickory Smoke. Visit UmaroFoods.com where you can sign up to receive their newsletter in your email and be the first to know when exactly it will drop.
Though still in pre-market stages, Umaro Foods founders have also indicated that Umaro intends to transform their proprietary algae into a variety of other protein products, including more cured meats.
Following the Series A round, Zotter emphasized the environmental benefits of sourcing protein from the sea.
Here’s a breakdown of Umaro Bacon’s main ingredients, such as:
Seaweed. Umaro Bacon’s meaty taste, color, and texture come from seaweed and Umaro’s proprietary red seaweed protein. Seaweed has been part of the human diet for ages. The "umami" taste was first discovered by a Japanese scientist describing the savory, meat-like, flavor of seaweed.
“Seaweed is surprisingly high in protein, and it’s one of the fastest-growing plants on earth,” Dr. Stiles said. “Seaweed offers the most sustainable, lowest-impact way to source protein, and the ocean is our biggest protein bioreactor. It requires no land, no freshwater, and no synthetic fertilizers. In the future, seaweed will supply the majority of our protein needs,” Zotter added.
Chickpea. Protein-rich chickpeas are loaded with fatty acids and essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Coconut. Energy-rich coconut oil is Umaro Bacon’s source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and antioxidants.
Sunflower Oil provides a rich source of plant-based unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-6 and omega-9.
Plant Flavors & Natural Colors like paprika and red radish juice help Umaro’s bacon look and taste just like real bacon.
Sea Salt. Umaro Bacon gets its salty flavor from abundant natural sea salt harvested directly from the ocean.
Is It Time to Buy?
Umaro Foods’ revolutionary seaweed-protein based bacon impressed Shark Mark Cuban so much that it is has become one of the rare Shark Tank products that managed to double its investment ask. Slated to drop at your favorite restaurants later this year, vegans and non-vegans alike can soon enjoy the crispy, crunchy, fatty, umami goodness of bacon all they want without the guilt associated with animal-based proteins.