Heura is famous for its delicious plant-based chicken and beef. However, the company is anything but typical.
Its history is as unique as the brand itself. Here are a few facts you should know about it.
1. Heura's CEO Marc Coloma was a social, environmental, and animal rights activist before founding the company
In February 2017, Marc Coloma and Bernat Añaños co-founded the company. Coloma had the initial business idea. Before founding, he spent years as a social, environmental, and animal rights activist. He noticed that he was spending a lot of time raising the awareness of people to consume food options that do not cause harm to animals.
However, at this time, these options were not considered tasty. That’s when he decided that instead of informing people about semi-tasty plant-based options, he wanted to offer them truly delicious alternatives without sacrificing taste or texture. Añaños joined Coloma on the mission to launch attractive plant-based options. Together they want to shape the food system more sustainably.
2. Heura is not the legal name of the company
3. A "Eureka" inspired the name Heura
The choice of name was very spontaneous. One day the team of Heura was testing the product’s texture, and they achieved one they really liked. In this moment one person yelled with excitement, “Eureka.”
That was the starting point of the name discussion. The term Heura was born. The company chose this name because it sounds like a Mediterranean term and doesn’t mean anything in most languages.
4. Heura's beef emits 99% less CO2 than traditional beef
Heura believes “that the sum of many small changes can transform an entire society.” Heura is particularly concerned about the environment and also promotes its products by being environmentally friendly. Heura products use 94% less water and emit more than 99% less CO2 than traditional beef.
The forward-thinking company believes that producing meat directly from vegetables is the best way to sustainably preserve our culinary traditions without sacrificing great taste. Their mission is to address the problems of the current food system by providing sustainable, nutritious, and delicious plant-based food.
5. The company currently offers 7 different products
Heura currently offers 5 varieties of plant-based chicken and 2 varieties of plant-based beef. They are already planning to produce plant-based pork as well. The products now sold are either in frozen or cooled (=refrigerated) form:
- Spiced Chunks (Frozen)
- Mediterranean Chunks (Frozen or Cooled)
- Spiced Tacos (Frozen)
- Original Strips (Frozen or Cooled)
- Original Chunks (Frozen or Cooled)
- Meatballs (Frozen)
- Burger (Frozen or Cooled)
It’s important to note that you should not freeze refrigerated Heura, as it would lose its original texture and juiciness.
6. Heura uses olive oil in all of its products
Olive oil is for sure the most distinctive ingredient of Heura’s products compared to other plant-based meat alternatives. For their beef, they even use extra virgin olive oil, which is even more healthy.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which improve blood cholesterol levels when eaten instead of saturated fats. Furthermore, olive oil is more sustainable than coconut or palm oil.
7. The products contain no GMOs, no colorants, no preservatives, nor additives
8. Heura is an excellent source of protein, but not as great as traditional meat
Heura’s chicken products contain almost 40% less protein than traditional chicken, and their beef even includes 40-50% less protein than conventional ground beef. These numbers may sound alarming to you, but they are actually quite average when it comes to plant-based meat.
Every meat has its advantages and disadvantages, and unfortunately, this is a significant disadvantage of plant-based meat. However, I am confident this issue will resolve soon.
9. Heura's products contain carbs, yet traditional meat does not
10. The products are a great source of minerals and vitamin B12
11. The company sources its ingredients solely from Europe also produces only in Europe
Heura’s ingredients come from European crops that do not promote deforestation. However, it is not entirely clear from which countries they exactly buy. A little more transparency would be nice in this case.
The production takes place in the Netherlands, France, and Spain. In all these three countries, Heura is available in supermarkets as well.
12. Heura's products are not organic because of vitamin B12
13. The packaging is made out of 100% recycled cardboard for frozen products
14. The company uses High Moisture Extrusion to obtain the fibrous structure of meat
One of the biggest challenges of Heura was obtaining the fibrous structure of meat. The company overcame this challenge with High Moisture Extrusion. The spherical plant proteins are transformed into the fibrous and elongated form of animal fiber proteins in this process.
Heura achieves the meaty texture through a mix of changes in temperature, humidity, and pressure. Once they reach the proper structure, they marinate it with olive oil, spices, salt, aroma, and a healthy dose of vitamin B12.
15. Heura is quite expensive: You pay €25 per kg chicken & €21 per kg beef
If you’re not exactly living in Switzerland, then paying €25 for a kg of chicken is probably twice or triple the price you are used to paying for 1kg traditional chicken. The beef is €21 per kg, a little less expensive and a maximum twice as expensive as conventional meat.
Heura’s products come in 160g – 220g packages, which cost €3.99 to €4.49. However, in the long-term, Heura is set to decrease this price. In addition, they offer “family packages” of 2.5kg Chicken Chunks for €48, which translates into €19.4 for 1 kg chicken.
16. The company has raised €20.3 million so far
Heura has raised €20.3 million within 4 funding rounds, according to Crunchbase. The company raised €16 million in the most recent funding round (Series A) on 23 June 2021.
Funds from the last round will go to the development of vegan pork and toward the company’s global expansion, focusing on the U.K. and U.S. markets. Their investments come from venture capital, angel investors, governmental subsidies, and crowdfunding.
17. Heura raised €4 million within 24 hours of crowdfunding
18. Heura's chicken is juicy and fibrous, just like traditional meat
Let’s start from the beginning. In the raw state, it looks like cooked chicken. Once prepared, there will be no visual difference between traditional meat and Heura. The preparation time is also similar to chicken. So if you ever want to prank someone by serving them plant-based instead of traditional meat, Heura would be a great choice.
As soon as you put the marinated chicken in the oven, a crust will form, making it super crispy. As soon as you eat it, you won’t notice the difference between Heura and traditional chicken. The taste and texture are basically THE SAME. It just tastes like conventional chicken. Amazing!
My friends who love to eat traditional meat even told me they don’t notice the difference. But what’s more, is that the texture is just perfect. It has the same structure and identical fibers as meat.
19. Heura offers one of the best chicken alternatives out there
More info about Heura: https://www.heurafoods.com/
I enquired Heura about the concern suggested above on the organic certification and here the response I’d gladly like to share:
“Hi, as a company we don’t currently use organic ingredients therefore we have not chosen to go for an organic B12 source.
We source high quality, non GMO ingredients from suppliers we spend a lot of time to understand their work practices.
Our mission is to speed up the protein transition so price parity to meat is our biggest obstacle. As we are already more expensive than meat (as it’s heavily subsidised) if we went organic our price would be way more expensive so it’s not viable at this stage”
Thank you for sharing the response from Heura. It’s amazing that you asked them! Now it makes a lot more sense that their products are not organic 🙂