- Meati Foods, maker of alternative meats made from mushroom root, announced its partnership with Dot Foods, North America’s largest food industry redistributor to distribute its line of products to a network of 5,200 distributors across the 50 states.
- This partnership is a significant step toward Meati’s goal to be the market leader in meat alternatives by 2025. Meati has been selling its mycelium steak and chicken breast analogs in limited quantities online and direct to consumer since last spring.
- The company opened its “Mega Ranch” manufacturing facility, in Thornton, Colorado, in January. Meati is in the process of opening other phases of its Mega Ranch and, once at full capacity, will be capable of producing tens of millions of pounds of Eat Meati product annually, according to Scott Tassani, president and COO of Meati Foods.
Amidst worries of dark days for the plant-based category, many realigning events are taking place. This latest partnership between Dot and Meati marks a monumental shift in distribution for the Boulder-based mycelium meat product maker, one that the company has been plotting.
Additionally, the partnership with Dot Foods network solidifies Meati’s optimistic outlook for the second half of the year in terms of distribution.
Meati’s president Scott Tassani said in an emailed statement the partnership allows the company to make it products available to players in a complex and segmented foodservice sector.
“While many brands unlock a partnership with Dot at a later stage of growth, Meati’s outsized demand has demonstrated a unique opportunity with Dot to scale with efficiency,” Tassani said.
All four of the Eat Meati products are available in both foodservice-level quantities and retail.
As intense inflation and supply chain issues increased prices and impacted supplies for all food makers in 2022, many plant-based meat companies had an especially bad year, with layoffs, operating losses and company closures. Some media predicted a massive recoiling for the industry.
There have been many theories as to why the downturn in alternative meats happened. Tassani points to one that is often misunderstood but simple: taste.
”In the retail channel, the existing alternative protein products have not delivered on consumers’ non-negotiables of flavor, nutrition, and a clean label,” Tassani added. “Brands that are falling short are seeing less growth. For some products, there is growth if they at least deliver on taste.”
While Meati recently laid off 5% of its staff, it also bolstered its leadership team and prepared for a large scale retail launch by hiring CPG veterans Elizabeth Fikes, chief supply chain officer and Joseph Johnston as SVP, operations and engineering.
General Mills veteran Tassani was hired as Meati’s president in late 2021. He has noted experience in forging partnerships, getting products on lots of shelves as well as growing new categories and finding M&A opportunities.
Eat Meati products are available in Sprouts, Fresh Thyme and Meijer Grocery stores, as well as restaurants like PLNT Burger, Birdcall and Causwells. Each whole-cut Meati product is made primarily from mushroom root. The company thinks the short list of ingredients in its product is a bonus to consumers.
“The demand is there,” Tassani said. “Today, 60% of the U.S. general population is in some way
wanting to reduce how much animal meat they consume. Our research shows that a majority of self-identified carnivores would eat less animal meat if there were better options.”