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Hungarian vegan food producer to enter U.S. market

Hungarian business Plantcraft Innovációs Kft. is set to enter the U.S. market with its vegan food products, after receiving a capital investment of HUF 150 million by X-Ventures Gamma Venture Capital Fund, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Founders Katalin Ohens and Csaba Hetényi.

U.S. company Allied Market Research says that the market of meat replacement products will grow at a rate of 8% per year between 2018 and 2025, reaching a turnover value of USD 7.5 billion by the end of the period. Another market research company, Bernstein argues that the marketʼs turnover will grow to USD 40 bln in the next decade.

Hungarian startup Plantcraft is trying to seize the opportunity, and get in on the rapidly expanding meat-free food business. The company was founded by Katalin Ohens, who lives in New Zealand but has Hungarian roots, and Csaba Hetényi from Budapest.

The startup began product development based on recipes by a Hungarian biotech researcher. Since then, they have received assistance from Berlin-based Proveg Incubator, and CEU InnovationsLab from Budapest.

"The initial product lineup consists of village-style patés, pepperoni salami, and ham," says Csaba Hetényi. "The patés are completely ready, while the others are in the last development phase. We hope that they will receive their final form and flavor in the upcoming one or two months, and we can commence their introduction to the U.S. market."

After years of research work, Plantcraft managed to develop second-generation meat replacements, meaning that their plant-based products do not contain soy, gluten, or additives. 

Not only for vegetarians and vegans

The press release says that some 5% of the U.S. population is vegetarian, while a further 3% is vegan.

"However, they are not the exclusive target group of our products, as we are also aiming at those in the remaining 92%, who want to eat less meat without losing out on the ʼmeat experienceʼ," Hetényi adds. "Some 86% of those who buy meat alternatives are neither vegetarian nor vegan, representing a huge customer base for us."

Levente Zsembery, CEO of X-Ventures Venture Fund Management Company says, "We see significant market potential in Plantcraft products and the know-how accumulated by the team, since in the future it will be possible to produce foods that meet consumersʼ needs at a much lower cost than a traditional farmʼs meat production costs - and for customers, price will always be a priority."

"Such an economic opportunity will bring about radical changes in the food industry, new products, new business models and new companies will emerge, which is why we have seen potential in Plantcraft."