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Sustainable, traceable plant-based food maker The Single Origin Food Co (Sofco) closed a $ 1.1 million seed funding round. The company developed a plant-based honey substitute launched through Sprouts Farmers Market. From now on, the capital raised will be intended to extend the deployment of the product in other American stores.
US-based The Single Origin Food Company (Sofco) has completed its seed funding round led by A’Z Angels. The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm is focused on investing in experienced founders creating breakthrough innovation.
Founded in 2015, Sofco is dedicated to providing products of ethical origin. It sets up long-term partnerships with farmers to engage in sustainable and ethical practices. Its portfolio includes products such as rice, salt and sugars sold in more than 3,500 supermarkets in the United States.
Why is honey not sustainable?
When extracting honey, bees often lose their lives and this has a direct impact on the environment as the number of wild bee pollinators is decreasing around the world.
United States National Agricultural Statistics Highlighted decline in honey bees with data showing a 60 percent reduction in 2008 to 2.4 million hives compared to over 6 million hives in 1947.
If the bees were to disappear, it would have serious consequences on the planet. Several plants pollinated by these bees would die, as would other bee-dependent species. Their decline could also affect ecosystems and the food chain.
Lily: World Bee Day: Why Vegans Avoid Honey & Other Important Facts About Nature’s Pollinators
Vegan honey as a solution
Sofco seeks to solve this problem with its flagship product: Vegan Un-Honey. It is created without the use of bees and instead incorporates natural herbal ingredients enriched with organic flower pollen.
Launched in the sprout growers market in the United States, it is now looking to use the new capital to expand into Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Safeway Albertsons stores.
“Our mission is to repair the food chain,” Sofco CEO Belal Elbana said in a statement. “Our one-stop-shop model of working with our agricultural partners actively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases biodiversity, eliminates the use of animals from the food chain, and provides full product traceability to our customers for ensuring that we deliver the highest quality and best value food to the market. “
Our mission is to repair the food chain. Our one-stop-shop model of working with our agricultural partners actively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases biodiversity, eliminates the use of animals from the food chain and provides full product traceability to our customers.
Belal Elbana, CEO of Sofco
Elbana added that the seed cycle will not only support its vegan honey product, but help accelerate product development. “Our product roadmap includes Vegan Un-Honey + (with flower pollen added), Nada (sugar free) and Gold (maple). Longer term, we see huge potential for other natural herbal “One” and + (plus) enrichment products using organic flower pollen and wild nutrition.
Managing partner of A’Z Angels, Amr Abdelaziz said that despite their portfolio consisting primarily of technology companies, Sofco and its Vegan Un-Honey are poised to disrupt the food industry with innovation at their heart. “We firmly believe in sustainable development, which is a key driver of innovation. The US vegan food market is estimated at $ 24.3 billion by 2026. We see high innovative growth potential for Sofco and we are delighted to partner with them on this journey.
Vegan Un-Honey by Sofco won 2021 Honey Product of the Year at the Mindful Awards. It is a program that honors companies that create ethical products that respect the planet.
In the United States itself, another company MeliBio uses synthetic biology, precision fermentation, and plant science to make honey that mimics traditional honey. To advance her fermentation-based technology to produce vegan honey, she secured US $ 850,000 in her pre-seeding cycle.
Main image courtesy of The Single Origin Food Co.