Cooks Venture, a food company focused on regenerative agriculture, has secured $10 million in funding and announced a new partnership with food testing firm FoodID.
The Series A round was led by SJF Ventures and Cultivation Sandbox, with participation from Larry Schwartz and John Roulac. Prior to this round, the start-up had secured $4 million in funding in January and $12 million in September last year.
Cooks Venture plans to use the investment to strengthen its regenerative crop management programme and further expand and commercialise on a national scale.
The US company breeds and raises a proprietary slow-growth, heirloom chicken which it distributes both direct-to-consumer and in-store. As a vertically integrated chicken producer, Cook Venture raises its chickens on its 800-acre farm in Arkansas and processes the meat at its own plant in Oklahoma.
Rather than use genetic engineering, the start-up says it breeds its chickens through selection with more natural criteria and heritage lines and uses only Non-GMO feed. As a result of its programme, Cooks Venture claims to have created a chicken with better taste, improved animal welfare and strong natural pathogenic resistance for food systems.
“We are working hard to drive the agricultural industry toward greater biodiversity, breed diversity, and true transparency for consumers. Our innovations provide food security while supporting regional communities,” said Matthew Wadiak, founder and CEO of Cooks Venture.
Alan Kelley, managing director at SJF Ventures, added: “Seeing Cooks Venture’s chickens exhibit unusually healthy, vibrant attributes at one of the company’s farms was a powerful moment for us. It helped us to understand why consumers rave about the flavour of Cooks Venture’s chickens and why a pasture-raised environment is a fitting place for these unique birds to roam and grow.”
In addition, Cooks Venture announced its partnership with Food In Depth (FoodID), a new platform designed to increase transparency and accountability for food safety claims.
Co-founder of FoodID, Bill Niman, said: “Cooks Venture is foraging a whole new way to raise chicken. By using superior breeds and raising them on pasture, they are making tastier, more nourishing meat. By partnering with FoodID, they are creating full transparency in their process. They are the first company in the United States with a fully verified claim that their meat is truly antibiotic free.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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