NEW YORK – Alternative-protein food group Neat Food Co. on Wednesday announced major strategic developments as part of its international expansion plans.
The company, the first vertically integrated food tech company that serves as both a restaurant and alternative proteins CPG business, aims to make it easy for people to eat more sustainably by using a real-world presence to familiarize consumers with the brand ahead of launching into CPG.
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the group as a strategic investor, and the company announced its first New York site trading with global expansion plan in the coming months. Aggressive plans call for 1,000 units across the U.S. and U.K. by 2030.
Neat has also launched a Series B fundraiser, primarily with U.S. investors, which will accelerate the group’s global growth, underpin its new product development and CPG pipeline, and allow the group to expand its team for new hires. Unlike other alternative-protein brands, Neat is entering the CPG arena with an established brand and engaged consumers.
Neat’s expansion will begin in the U.S. in New York City with a flagship Neat Burger store opening in fall 2022. A pop up in Urbanspace Vanderbilt opened this week to engage with the local community and build a dialogue with consumers ahead of the flagship launch. The roll-out will then span major hubs across the U.S.
In addition, Neat is launching later this year in Italy and the Middle East through corporately owned online and offline restaurants and franchise partnerships. Neat expects to have 42 sites globally by the end of 2022 — including 12 in the U.S. — 231 by the end of 2024 and 436 by the end of 2026.
"Disrupting our food system with sustainable alternatives is one of the key ways we can make a real difference in reducing global emissions,” DiCaprio said. “Neat Burger's pioneering approach to alternative-proteins is a great example of the type of solutions we need moving forward."
"Neat is on a mission to create a sustainably delicious future. We are using our brand to build community and lead the change for a more sustainable future of food," added Neat co-founder and Chairman Tommaso Chiabra. "Our Series B raise will accelerate our global expansion and entry into the CPG market, so everyone can enjoy alternatives that not only taste delicious but have a positive impact on the planet."
Neat plans to roll out its award-winning burger patty, fish filet, and a range of other IP-owned products — including new and improved versions of its chicken patty, hot dog, nuggets and shakes — by the end of the year.