Hooray Foods, a name synonymous with plant-based bacon strips, and Nowadays, known for its plant-based nuggets, are shutting down their operations. Both San Francisco-based ventures recently announced the end of their production journey in separate social media posts.
Hooray Foods made its debut three years ago with plant-based strips designed to sizzle, smell and taste like traditional bacon. The faux bacon included ingredients such as coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, umami seasoning, maple syrup, salt and beet juice concentrate.
Sri Artham, a veteran in the sustainable food sector, conceived the idea. With a decade’s worth of experience in the field, Artham created the product in his kitchen, later collaborating with food scientists and chefs to elevate the recipe.
Earlier this year, in an attempt to further its mission, Hooray Foods embarked on an equity crowdfunding journey aiming to secure $500,000. The funds were proposed for widening distribution channels and advancing R&D to diversify the product range. Notably, at that time, Hooray Foods had already secured its place in over 1,000 grocery outlets, which included retail giants like Whole Foods Market.
The startup had also successfully completed multiple seed funding rounds, receiving backing from prominent names such as former Dunkin’ CEO David Hoffmann and entities like Lyra Growth Partners, Evolution VC Partners, and Gaingels, among others.
However, on September 7, Hooray Foods took to Facebook and Instagram, conveying their decision to shut down operations, citing, “after four years on the market and over five million bacon strips made, we have come to the difficult decision to cease our business operations.” The subsequent post revealed the economic challenges the company faced, highlighting the misalignment between company size and revenue.
Comparatively younger in the market, Nowadays introduced its unique plant-based nuggets two years ago. The nugget formula consisted of organic yellow peas, whole wheat flour, maple fiber, sunflower oil, yeast extract, mushroom extract and water.
The co-founders, Max Elder and Dominik Grabinski, brought to the table their vast experience from the food sector. The company had secured a whopping $7 million in an oversubscribed seed round the previous year, pushing its total funding to almost $10 million.
In an interview with AgFunderNews, Elder mentioned that while the products saw good traction in direct-to-consumer (DTC) and retail avenues with consistent repeat purchases, the financial dynamics of shipping and distributing frozen foods posed challenges for a startup lacking substantial scale.
On September 13, Elder took to LinkedIn, reflecting on the extraordinary journey of Nowadays, expressing gratitude to the team, advisors and customers, praising their combined efforts for breaking the barriers in plant-based food innovation.
The rise in plant-based meat sales was notably observed in 2020, partially thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge was also attributed to consumers having more discretionary income and their widening palette, especially during pandemic-induced food shortages.
But in recent years, the industry has experienced a sharp decline, with more and more plant-based meat companies shuttering. Hooray Foods and Nowadays are just the latest to close their doors and unfortunately, they likely won’t be the last.