Black Sheep Foods, the innovative plant-based company which launched the first plant-based lamb this fall, has announced a seed investment of $5.25 million from a group of investors: AgFunder; Bessemer Venture Partners; Meera and Ashok Vasudevan of Tastybites; New Crop Capital; Siddhi Capital; as well as Smita Conjeevaram, an individual investor. This investment is a notable development in the plant-based category as Black Sheep Foods aims to “catapult flavor to the next level.” With strong financial backing, the company looks to bring lesser-known, bold tasting plant-based game meats to the masses, thereby democratizing flavor, and they are able to do this through analytical chemistry and their patent-pending flavor compounds.
“We’re encouraged by the momentum the plant-based movement is currently seeing, evidenced by our support from a diverse array of investors and restaurants, and what that means both for Black Sheep Foods but also for the future of our planet,” notes co-founder Sunny Kumar.
Black Sheep Foods is the first plant-based producer dedicated to making heritage breed meats and wild game. Indeed, early success is already evident. In fall 2021, the company launched exclusively at Souvla, the Bay Area’s wildly popular, pioneering group of fast-fine Greek restaurants, with the debut of their Tunis-inspired heritage breed plant-based lamb. This marked the first time that Souvla made a change to their menu in the seven years since its founding.
Early this year, Souvla will also introduce Black Sheep Foods meatballs to their Delta Airlines offerings available to first and business class travelers. Moreover, this month will see the introduction of Black Sheep Lamb on a handful of Bay Area menus including, Rooh, the upscale, contemporary Indian restaurant with locations in the Bay Area and New Delhi; Chezchez, the newest concept from from the innovative cocktail and hospitality group, Bon Vivants Hospitality; Beit Rima, the Arabic comfort food restaurant named a “San Francisco Chronicle Top 100” in 2019 now with two San Francisco locations; Joyride, the new Detroit-style pizza chain; Mazra, the family-run fire-grilled Arabic and Mediterranean restaurant in San Bruno , which was ranked #2 on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2021; Monica’s, the all-day American comfort food restaurant in Antioch, CA; and Ettan in Palo Alto, named one of the “Top 25 Restaurants in The Bay Area” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Black Sheep Lamb is an incredible product with impeccable taste and texture. For our menu at Rooh, its applications are diverse and offer enormous opportunities for Indian recipes which traditionally feature animal lamb,” notes Pujan Sakar, Chef de Cuisine at Rooh in San Francisco. “It’s the perfect addition to our menu as many diners are moving away from meat and towards plant-based proteins. Black Sheep Lamb opens up new possibilities for gluten-free and vegan recipes, which is especially exciting within the fine-dining format, ushering in a new sense of sophistication and innovation to our green cuisine. We love the fact that the company is local too.”
Having bridged flavor and texture with innovation, Black Sheep Foods is a compelling new player for restaurants and investors alike. It’s an exciting new culinary addition to New Crop Capital, AgFunder, and Siddhi Capital, venture funds focused on purpose-driven food entrepreneurs and businesses. Notably, Black Sheep Foods is the first food investment for Bessemer, a testament to plant-based foods’ general growth and momentum as well as Black Sheep Foods’ ability to further revolutionize the space.
“The plant-based movement has made spectacular strides in recent years and has incredible potential to reduce the destructive environmental impact of industrial meat production,” said Tess Hatch, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “Black Sheep Foods’ first heritage lamb product has upped the stakes in what it means to deliver a delicious, sustainable, plant-based meat.”