Drop the agave nectar and maple syrup – Food tech company The Single Origin Food Co [Sofco] just raised $1.1 million to bring its Un-Honey vegan honey to customers across the US. The Delaware-based company recently hosted seed funding to deliver its product to more consumers, and continue its progress in mimicking bee-based honey. The Vegan Un-Honey uses plant-based ingredients alongside organic flower pollen to deliver a honey product without the involvement of honey bees.

“Our mission is to fix the food chain,” Sofco CEO Belal Elbana said. “Our Single Origin model of working collaboratively with our farming partners actively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases biodiversity, removes animal use from the food chain, and provides full product traceability to our customers to ensure we deliver the highest quality, best value food to market. We are proud to say we are well on our way.”

Sofco’s investors and partners believe that this product is slated to disrupt the honey market, refiguring how consumers purchase honey and how the industry sources its ingredients. The company currently distributes its products to more than 3,500 retail stores across the United States. The Vegan Un-Honey is currently rising in popularity rapidly nationwide following its rollout at Sprouts Farmers Markets and Whole Foods. Soon, other retailers including Natural Grocers and Safeway Albertsons will see the Vegan Un-Honey on the shelves.

The company is currently revamping its product line, planning to release several varieties of its Vegan Un-Honey. Sofco’s selection presently includes the Amber Vegan Un-Honey that uses organic cane sugar from Colombia, the Blonde Vegan Un-Honey using coconut nectar from Thailand, and the Copper Vegan Un-Honey using date nectar from California’s Coachella Valley. The company plans to develop two new products including the Nada sugar-free and the Gold Maple-based Vegan Un-Honey. The organic product is set to continue its expansion following this seed funding round.

The funding round led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm A’Z Angels is meant to help the company move forward in its new product development. The innovative product raised enough money that the venture capital firm believes it could impact both the plant-based market and the market in its entirety.

“Our portfolio is primarily technology companies. However, Sofco and Vegan Un-Honey are poised to disrupt the food industry with innovation at the heart of everything they do,” Managing Partner at A’Z Angels Amr Abdelaziz said. “We are a strong believer in sustainability which is a key driver of innovation. The US vegan food market is estimated to be worth $4.3 billion by 2026. We see high growth potential for Sofco.”

The global honey industry is currently facing several impediments as climate change and human involvement have negatively affected bee diversity and habitats. The honey industry is valued at $9 billion but faces urgent change as the industry is becoming more unsustainable. The shift is allowing other companies like Sofco to take advantage of the market opening.

Similar to Sofco, a California-based start-up Melibio developed a method to create real honey without bees, recently securing an $850,000 pre-seed funding round. With the honey industry struggling to meet sustainability standards, food tech companies have taken this opportunity to reveal products to fill the market gap while boosting sustainable practices globally.

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