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Ginkgo’s spinout Motif to release plant-based meat tech after raising $226 million

The Motif FoodWorks food science lab.
The Motif FoodWorks food science lab.Motif FoodWorks

The plant-based food startup that spun out of Ginkgo Bioworks is getting ready to unveil its first product.

Boston’s Motif FoodWorks, with $226 million in new funding, announced on Wednesday that it plans to release food technology designed to improve the taste and aroma of meat alternatives by the end of the year. Another product designed to add texture and juiciness to fake meat is expected to be available next year.

The developments come more than two years after Ginkgo started Motif to break out its food business, inspired by the successes of other companies like Impossible Foods, which uses science to mimic the attributes of animal meat with its Impossible Burger.

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The difference with Motif is that instead of releasing its own line of foods, it plans to partner with companies that may not want to develop the tech behind plant-based food on their own. A Motif spokesperson said that in many cases, a consumer packaged goods company would include Motif’s technology in a plant-based product it plans to sell in retail settings.

“Plant-based foods have the potential to unlock enormous benefits for people and the planet, but that will only happen if they live up to, or even exceed, what consumers expect from animal-based counterparts,” said Jonathan McIntyre, the chief executive of Motif, in a press release.

Motif’s website indicates that it is also working on improving the stretchiness of plant-based cheese and the creaminess of dairy alternatives. The new funding, which brings Motif’s total haul to $345 million, will allow the company to add at least 50 people to its 35-person team by the end of the year.

The food startup is located in a 10,000-square-foot space in the same building as Ginkgo in the Seaport District. Ginkgo announced last month that it plans to go public through a $17.5 billion merger with a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company.

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The Motif funding round was led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, through its investment arm that backs growing technology companies, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. Additional new and previous investors also participated in the round.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.