Coffee… minus the beans? Atomo raises $40m to build out ‘planet-friendly’ beanless coffee business

The latest cash injection – from S2G Ventures, AgFunder, and Horizons Ventures – will support manufacturing scale up, distribution, and ongoing R&D work at the firm, which is also working on a ground product for launch in 2023.

While Atom’s original pitch​ – of a smoother, less bitter brew – homed in on the fact that many people love the smell of coffee, but have to add creamer and sugar to mask the bitter taste; the latest branding (it’s third iteration) focuses more on the ‘planet-friendly’ credentials of beanless coffee amid a flurry of reports highlighting the threat that climate change poses to conventional coffee production​​.

Featuring the tagline ‘tastes great, does good​’on the front of pack, the back of the label highlights Atomo’s use of upcycled ingredients such as date pits, and explains that its beanless coffee uses significantly less water and generates far fewer carbon emissions than regular coffee production, and means ‘no deforestation .’

‘We are a mission based company with sustainability at our core, but for us to be successful, we have to win on taste’

That said, no one is going to buy beanless coffee – made from date seed extract, chicory root extract, grape extract, inulin, natural flavors, and caffeine – unless it tastes as good as, or better than, the real thing, Atom Coffeehead of growth Ed Hoehn told FoodNavigator-USA.

“We are a mission based company with sustainability at our core, but for us to be successful, we have to win on taste.

“In a recent blind taste study conducted by National Food Labs, Atomo’s cold brew outranked competitive conventional cold brew products on preference 2:1, and people had no idea they weren’t drinking coffee​ [from coffee beans].”

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