BOULDER — Meati Foods, a trade name for mushroom-based whole-food proteins producer Emergy Inc., laid off 17 workers, or about 5% of its staff, this week.
The layoffs come less than six months after the firm opened a 100,000-square-foot production facility in Thornton that the company has dubbed its “mega ranch.”
“Building a disruptive company with a novel product from the ground up is not straightforward. It requires consistent agility to adapt, and we have applied incredible learnings to our operations to not only produce what it takes to deliver our near-term growth but also support future ranch designs,” the company said in an email to BizWest. “On this path to scalability, we continuously identify the most strategic way to allocate our resources, and unfortunately, this week, we identified a small number of positions that were eliminated from Meati’s workforce.”
Meati’s products began being sold in retail outlets last July, the same month the raised a $150 million Series C round, which elevated Meati’s total fundraising beyond the quarter-billion-dollar mark, according to Crunchbase data.
Earlier this year, Meati projected that by 2025, the company’s revenues would reach $1 billion.
Regarding the recent layoffs, the company told BizWest that “we are confident that these changes are the right course of action for Meati. Our products are highly popular and category-leading with consumers and our commercial relationships remain incredibly strong. As we refine our operations, we believe these changes will allow us to better meet our ambitious goals.”
Meati creates high-protein, high-fiber and nutrient-dense meats using mycelium — the muscular root structure of fungi — as its single main ingredient. Unlike traditional meat alternatives, which typically attempt to mimic products such as chicken nuggets or ground beef, Meati’s products, some of which are still being developed, replicate whole cuts of meat such as chicken breasts, steak, jerky and pork tenderloin.
Meati’s layoffs echo an industry trend among meat-substitute manufacturers. Beyond Meat laid off about 19% of its workforce in late 2022, according to media reports, Impossible Foods laid off about the same percentage of its staff earlier this year, and JBS USA shuttered its Lafayette-based plant-based-food unit, Planterra Foods Co., in October.
Meati’s staffing decisions “were not made lightly,” the company said. “The individuals leaving our company have been instrumental in contributing to Meati’s success, and we are working to ensure they receive adequate care and assistance as they find new opportunities. We are also mindful of the impact of these changes on our current team and maintain an open-door policy to discuss any concerns.”