Entrepreneur La Vie raises 25 million to democratize vegetable bacon

La Vie raises 25 million to democratize vegetable bacon

It is a basic trend. On the shelves of traditional or organic supermarkets, plant-based meat (that funny oxymoron…) occupies an increasingly important place. The big food groups (Herta, etc.) have rushed into the breach, but also the start-ups.

Life (formerly -77 Foods) is one of the French flagships of this new industry and is giving itself the means to impose itself on the plate of the French. The start-up, which is best known for its vegetable bacon, has just completed a fundraising of 25 million euros in Serie A with Seventure, Oyster Bay, Capagro, Partech, Entrepreneur First and Bleu Capital.

Several business angels also took part in the operation, such as actress Natalie Portman and renowned impact bosses: Frédéric Mazella (BlaBlaCar), Thibaud Hug de Larauze (Back Market) and Thomas Lodewijk Plantenga (Vinted ).

Reproduce the taste of fat

La Vie was founded in 2019 by Nicholas Schweitzer, an entrepreneur above all driven by ecological considerations. “I love meat, but not the consequences it has on the environment,” he explains. Dissatisfied with the products on sale on the market, he decided to try the adventure with Vincent Poulichet, the CTO of the young shoot, who has a doctorate in physics and chemistry.

“What makes the meat so good is the fat,” says Nicolas Schweitzer. The company thus wanted to create a taste experience that comes as close as possible to it, which involved intense research work. “We tested 5,000 recipes before finding the right formula,” says the boss.

Although knowledge of meat substitutes is progressing, there are still barriers to be overcome for these products to reach the general public. Less than 15% of French people say they want to buy this type of product, according to a recent study by the Kantar Institute. Among the reasons cited, 42% of those questioned highlighted the taste that they do not like or “think” they do not like, 32% the texture, and 27% the price.

The French are also 28% to think that these products are made with “unnatural ingredients, additives, preservatives, flavor enhancers”. “You need exceptional products to convince consumers”, observes Nicolas Schweitzer, who recalls that La Vie products are “green on Yuka”, a very popular app that scans food products, in order to decipher their composition and evaluate their impact on health.

During the last edition of the Lyon hotel, catering and food trade show (Sirha), La Vie wowed chefs and visitors with its products made in Vendée at its partner Sodebo. Which, obviously, has given investors an appetite.

UK launch

La Vie started selling vegetable bacon in October at Carrefour and also distributes them on Cajoo, the on-demand grocery delivery start-up. It has also developed vegetable bacon which it offers to restaurants. An activity that is off to a strong start. “We thought we would make 2/3 of our turnover with mass distribution and 1/3 with restaurants. But it is rather the opposite that is happening”, comments Nicolas Schweitzer.

With its fundraising of 25 million euros, La Vie wants to be present on the shelves of more French brands and launching in the UK in April, where its competitor This is located. The foodtech also intends to improve and expand its product range and needs to recruit around forty people to do so.

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