Robert Downey Jr. Invests In Motif FoodWorks

Robert Downey Jr.

Actor Robert Downey Jr. wants to see a future where food is produced responsibly and plant-based meats and cheeses have no flavor, nutrition, or texture compromises, and he’s working to make that happen. Downey Jr. has invested in Motif FoodWorks, a food-technology startup seeking to make vegan food craveable through innovative discoveries that increase flavor and texture, through his venture fund FootPrint Coalition Ventures (FPCV).

HEMAMI is a heme-binding myoglobin protein developed by the Boston-based firm that has the flavor and scent of traditional animal-based meat but is generated from plants. Motif also created APPETEX, a technology that simulates the bouncy, luscious feel of animal flesh. These advancements are designed to bring what customers love about animal meat to the plant-based meat market, providing them additional reasons to choose choices that are healthier for both animals and the environment.

“If plant-based foods are going to make a real impact on sustainability, we need an approach that’s both delicious and nutritious… By focusing on both better tasting and healthier options, Motif is not only making a difference in products today, but reimagining the future of tomorrow’s plant-based foods,” Downey Jr. said in a statement. 

Improving Vegan Meat

Downey Jr.’s latest investment comes after Motif raised $226 million in a Series B round last year, which it utilized to expand into new areas. Motif is launching three of its own goods to food service providers, distributors, and retailers with private-label products to have an even bigger impact, in addition to its technology aimed to improve plant-based products.

Motif MoBeef Plant-Based Burger Patties are the first to hit the market, with Motif MoBeef Plant-Based Ground and Motif MoPork following later this year. With its lifelike Motif MoChicken, Motif will join the lucrative plant-based chicken sector next year. Motif will exhibit its plant-based beef products at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, where vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli will demonstrate the new products in prepared meals at the Flavor Foray’s Championship BBQ and Cook-Off on May 22.

“With our Motif MoBeef, Motif MoPork, and Motif MoChicken options, chefs, retailers and distributors can offer the absolute best plant-based experience, with umami, mouthwatering flavor, and a meaty bite that consumers have been asking for from products in the category.”

”Whether on the store shelf or a menu, we’re focused on making our customer’s plant-based foods so desirable that people actually crave them… We couldn’t be more excited to have Robert [Downey Jr.] and FootPrint Coalition on board as an investor and a partner in our work to grow the category,” Motif FoodWorks CEO Jonathan McIntyre said in a statement. 

Robert Downey Jr.’s Other Investments

During the opening of the animal-centric film Dolittle in 2020, Downey Jr. announced that he was switching to a plant-based diet. Since then, the actor has backed companies that are pioneering in the plant-based food industry.

Apart from Motif, Downey Jr. has invested in Nobell Foods, a business that aims to create dairy-like cheese without the cow. The company, founded by Magi Richani, recreates the genetic code for casein—a milk protein that gives dairy cheese its cheesy qualities—in soybean seeds and develops plants with the same dairy caseins present in animal milks. Nobell then isolates the caseins to make a range of dairy-like cheeses without the need of cows, goats, or any other animal for their lactal secretions, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions when compared to traditional animal farming.

“Given the stresses our planet faces from population growth and climate change we need to find new ways to feed the world. Many fine folks are working to harness the power of plants, but substitutes for some foods, like cheeses, rarely mimic the delectable distinguishing characteristics convincingly… Magi Richani and her Nobell team are putting the eco in queso … milking a crop instead of a cow. FPCV wholeheartedly supports the product and believes its quality will speak for itself,” Downey Jr. said in a statement at the time of his Nobell investment.

Nobell plans to introduce its dairy-identical cheeses to restaurants, beginning with mozzarella and cheddar, later this year.


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