Robert Downey Jr. is channeling his Iron Man character Tony Stark with his latest philanthropic venture. He wants to help save our planet. Downey announced he's investing in Motif Foodworks, a food tech company working to improve sustainability in the food system, one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases. Via his investment firm FootPrint Coalition Venture (FPCV), the actor hopes to propel Motif to the forefront of the alternative protein industry.

Motif has developed a heme-binding myoglobin protein called HEMAMI. The company’s proprietary method expertly replicates the texture, aroma, and taste of traditional animal meat using exclusively plant-based ingredients. The food tech company's mission lies in developing a plant-based meat alternative that will appeal to all consumers, eventually helping promote an inclusive sustainable food system.

The Boston-based company is behind APPEXTEX – a proprietary technology that copies the texture and taste of traditional animal products. This technology creates an innovative meat alternative that intends to appeal to meat-eaters worldwide. The heme, which is most notably used in Impossible Foods products, provides a “bleeding” plant-based meat that mirrors traditional meat products.

“If plant-based foods are going to make a real impact on sustainability, we need an approach that’s both delicious and nutritious,” Downey Jr. said in a statement. “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.”

Motif Breaks Into the Alternative Protein Market

Downey Jr.’s recent investment follows Motif's successful Series B funding round last year. The company secured a $226 million investment package, which would be allocated towards improving its signature technologies and expanding its distribution capabilities. The company currently has plans to debut three plant-based meat products to foodservice providers, retailers, and distributors across the United States.

“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,” Motif FoodWorks CEO Jonathan McIntyre said in a statement. “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.”

The three products include the Motif MoBeef Plant-Based Burger Patties, Motif MoBeef Plant-Based Ground, and Motif MoPork. The burgers will be the only product available until later this year when the company is set to release the grounds and pork selections. Motif also revealed that it plans to release its Motif MoChicken next year, entering the rapidly expanding plant-based chicken sector.

Motif will unveil these innovative plant-based products with the help of Chef Chloe Coscarelli at the Flavor Foray’s Championship BBQ and Cook-Off at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. Coscarelli will cook with the Motif meat products during the competition 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,” McIntyre said.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Vegan Investments

Downey Jr. is betting big on the plant-based world. Other than Motif, the major celebrity invested in a vegan cheese company that makes dairy-identical cheese using soybeans. Nobell Foods secured $75 million dollars with the help of FPCV, putting the company's total valuation at $100 million. The company’s innovative product uses a proprietary technology that extracts proteins from soybeans to replicate dairy caseins to give its plant-based cheese a creamy, cheesy texture.

Earlier in 2021, Downey Jr. also invested in a vegan bacon company MyForest Foods (previously known as Atlast Food). The $40 million dollar investment round helped MyForest Food expand its production capabilities and distribution range. The company – known for its mushroom-based bacon – plans to build the largest mycelium production facility in the United States with the help of this funding package.

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