Former KFC CEO, ethicist Peter Singer returns $8.5 million mushroom meat investment

Making meat from mushrooms instead of animals is a sustainable way for the food system, and Australia’s Fable Food has raised $8.5 million to support this future. The mushroom meat company’s Series A round was led by like-minded investors led by Singapore-based K3 Ventures, including philanthropists Peter Singer and Greg Creed—former global CEOs of Yum! Brands that are the parent company of popular chains KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

“After four decades working in the consumer goods and food industry, first with Unilever, then with Yum! brands, I’ve seen the changing needs of consumers around the world when it comes to what they eat,” Creed said in a statement

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“I’ve seen a lot of fads and gimmicks along the way and I know that one thing consumers will never compromise on is taste,” he said. “What nailed the word was the intersection of health, sustainability and flavor with their range of mushroom products.”

Fable’s minimally processed mushroom meat—used in a similar way to pulled pork or braised beef—first debuted in Australian retailers and restaurants in 2020 but has since expanded internationally.

The company will use its funding to develop products and expand its international footprint, focusing on North America, the UK and Singapore.

Making sustainable meat from mushrooms

Launched in 2019, Fable Foods aims to give consumers a better choice when it comes to delicious meat made from mushrooms instead of animals.

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“We want to inspire the world to make more sustainable food choices,” Michael Fox, co-founder and CEO of Fable, said in a statement. “We believe that eating more flavorful, meaty foods made from mushrooms will help the world reduce global meat consumption—without compromising taste, texture, or experience—and thus enable us to achieve a more sustainable food system.”

Singer has been a thought leader in the field of practical ethics for decades, and his recent investment is motivated by his ethical support for Fable’s mission.

“I’m excited to invest in a company that wants to end industrial agriculture by making plant-based foods that I love to cook,” Singer said.

Within a year and a half of its launch, Fable’s mushroom meat hit Australian retailers and won endorsements from acclaimed chefs, including British Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal.

Mushroom meat has also debuted on the nationwide menu of Australian multinational concept Grilled and Sydney-based chain Guzman y Gomez. Last year, the company began an international expansion, landing menus in New Zealand, the UK, Singapore and the US.

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So far in 2023, Fable Foods has expanded its North American footprint with brand partnerships including New York-based meal delivery service CookUnity; plant-based restaurant chain The Butcher’s Daughter; As well as Canada-based cooked food delivery service Ethey.

Next month, Fable will introduce a mushroom burger slider to STK Steakhouse’s menu, marking the first time the meat-centric chain has offered a plant-based meat option.

Vegan meat at Yum! brand

Creed steps down as Global CEO of Yum! Brands in 2019. Soon after, the company began delving into plant-based meats with the vegan brand Beyond Meat.

Chicken giant KFC began working with the company on Beyond Fried Chicken in 2019 when it tested vegan chicken at an Atlanta location—where it sold out in five hours. In 2022, KFC expanded the offer nationwide for a limited time but has yet to add it to the permanent menu.

Pizza Hut nationwide tested a pizza topped with Beyond Meat’s Italian sausage in 2020 before exploring a launch of Beyond Pepperoni in 2021.

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At Taco Bell, a partnership with Beyond resulted in the Beyond Carne Asada Steak, a vegan version of the chain’s marinated steak that it launched in October at its 50 Dayton, OH location.

Is mushroom meat the next wave of animal-free alternatives? That’s what the fans of Fable think. Its early success in retail and food service, along with its mission and team, inspired Creed to invest in the company, which he believes could have global appeal.

“By blending their obsession with mushrooms and clean ingredient principles with real-world experience, the Fabel team continues to cut through the clutter and win over customers around the world,” said Creed.

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