Foods for Tomorrow wins government backing with gastronomic approach to plant-based: ‘Food is much more than a religion’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Spanish plant-based start-up eyes international growth Pic: Foods for Tomorrow
Spanish plant-based start-up eyes international growth Pic: Foods for Tomorrow

Related tags plant-based meat analogue

Foods for Tomorrow, the Spanish creator of the plant based Heura meat analogue line, discusses its global growth ambitions and gastronomic style of product innovation.

The Mediterranean identity of Foods for Tomorrow is strongly reflected in its approach to product development. The Spanish start-up has developed a line of plant-based meat alternatives which it sells under its Heura brand. These include Heura chicken, burger, meatballs and pizza.

“We focus on delivering the experience of meat directly from plants, always with a Mediterranean style. We come from a place where food is much more than a religion,”​ co-founder and chief growth officer Bernat Añaños enthused.

“We want the products as clean-labelled as possible, very nutritious, very delicious and obviously as meaty as possible.”

Foods for Tomorrow defines its ‘mission’ as addressing the problems of the current food system by offering plant-based products that have a ‘positive impact on the world through sustainable, nutritious and delicious foods’. For the Spanish start-up, delivering deliciousness is central to its mission.

“We always put the gastronomic experience in the middle. We have worked with several chefs and restaurant schools with the flavourings and aromatizations for our products. Coming from Spain kind of pushes us to do very delicious food options,”​ Añaños told FoodNavigator.

Currently, the Heura line utilises soy in its product formulations. But Añaños revealed Foods for Tomorrow is already working on new products with protein sources such as pea or fava bean.

Supply chain to support international drive

This approach is hitting the mark with customers and consumers alike.

Añaños told us that revenue projections see the company quadrupling in size year-on-year. Expansion will partially be fuelled by international development, he continued.

The Heura line is already available in leading national supermarkets in Spain, such as Carrefour, Eroski, El Corte Inglés, Bon Preu, La Sirena and Caprabo. It is also stocked by Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo.

Food for Tomorrow has set its sights further afield. The Heura brand recently entered the Asian market, selecting Singapore and Hong Kong as entry points. New releases are also planned in South America, other countries in Europe and Asia.

“In two years, we [aim] to be present in at least 30 countries. We [intend] to be a top-of-mind brand when it comes to the ‘plant-based meat experience’,”​ Añaños suggested.

Foods for Tomorrow 2
Heura aims to make plant-based eating accessible to consumers Pic: Foods for Tomorrow

In order to meet its ambitious growth targets – and progress its strategy of making ‘accessible’ plant-based products – Foods for Tomorrow is investing in increasing capacity and future-proofing its supply chain.

“We will have to have build the most efficient supply chain in order to create sustainable growth and at the same time in order to allow us to make more accessible products,”​ the Spanish entrepreneur noted.

To this end, Foods for Tomorrow has secured the financial backing of the Spanish government. The Ministry of Science and Innovation’s Public Business Entity (CDTI) is providing funding through its NEOTEC Programme. The company will be financed with €250,000 the 2020-21 period, CDTI revealed.

This can be read as a clear vote of confidence in the start-up. The funding was awarded following an evaluation of Heura’s potential market, the advantages of plant-based protein – including environmental impact - and the ‘degree of commitment and dedication’ shown by the technical and management team, NEOTEC revealed. Issues like gender parity and socio-economic impact were also taken into account. 

With this investment, Foods for Tomorrow will be able to accelerate and scale production of its chicken- and veal-like vegetable-based products. While the group's capacity is currently adequate, the move will clear the runway for future growth. 

“We use different production lines [for the various SKUs] and we do not have issues with production capacity now. This [investment] will help us keep growing in terms of diversifying production lines, depending on the products and the needed technology, so in four or five years we can maintain the growth pace,”​ Añaños said.

“Our main focus now is creating a global brand and launching the meatiest plant-based products. Obviously with high demand we need to create the supply chain that allows this growth.”

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