Saba Fazeli, the first R&D engineer at Beyond Meat, has launched Momentum Foods, operating under the brand name Paul’s Table, blending plant-based meat with animal components, stating that “while meat alternatives exist, they fail to deliver on the cost and quality they’ve promised.”
“Alternative meat can’t save the planet if nobody buys it”
Fazeli originally developed and scaled all of Beyond’s textured proteins, while co-founder Brice Klein previously served at vertical farming company Plenty where he led the commissioning of its multi-million dollar farm, according to YCombinator.
“After five years at leading plant-based meat companies, we realized two key things. One, that meat alternatives today don’t have a clear path toward improving quality and decreasing cost. And two, that the 96% of Americans who eat meat aren’t interested in products that taste worse, cost more, and are no healthier than the real thing,” reads the Paul’s Table website.
Making plant meat more accessible?
“Alternative meat can’t save the planet if nobody buys it. And so instead, we take a hybrid approach, combining the best parts of meat with textured plant-proteins to make great meals for you, your wallet, and our planet,” asserts Paul’s Table.
The company’s first products, BBQ pulled pork alternatives in Sweet & Smokey and Hot & Tangy varieties, will launch at price parity with animal meat products, state the founders to Fast Company, and are set to launch at grocery stores in the US West and Midwest, with more products to follow.
The products are 90% plant-based, made with ingredients such as soy and brown rice, blended with animal ingredients like collagen and fat, with the aim of providing an option with most of the environmental benefits of fully plant-based products but improved sensory qualities.
“After launching in select markets, we’ll check out initial numbers and reactions to see what’s working and, more importantly, where we could do better. Once we’ve made the necessary tweaks and tune-ups, we plan to expand our lineup of products,” says the brand.
Several major food companies offer blended meat products, with the aim of providing options for those who want to cut down on meat but not eliminate it entirely. According to Fazeli, the brand could eventually undercut meat, helping to convince omnivores who are unwilling or unable to pay more for plant-based alternatives.
Others are working on hybrids of plant-based and cultivated meat. Paul Shapiro’s The Better Meat Co. makes fermented mycoproteins for use in both blended and fully animal-free meat products.
“If we’re excited about plant proteins starting to displace animal meat in the meat aisle at supermarkets, why not also be excited about it displacing animal meat in the meat itself?” said Shapiro, in a Medium article.