BERKELEY, CALIF. — Down to Cook, Inc., a maker of shelf-stable, plant protein mixes, has received a $300,000 investment from the ICA Growth Fund as part of a $1.5 million seed round.
Founded in 2019, Down to Cook markets the Adda Veggie line of meal starters made with pea protein, fiber and seasonings that are paired with a prepared vegetable and olive oil to create patties or crumbles for burgers, tacos, stir-fries and more. Flavors include original, Indian masala, chipotle adobo and herb roasted garlic. The versatile blends may be combined with various vegetables, including broccoli, mushroom, spinach or cauliflower. Products are available at grocery stores throughout the Bay Area and in select Whole Foods Market locations.
ICA provides mentorship and capital to Bay Area businesses led by women and entrepreneurs of color. The ICA Impact Note is an investment structure that helps founders prioritize social impacts as they grow their businesses. Trishna Saigal, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Berkeley-based Down to Cook, has committed to providing full benefits, equity ownership and profit sharing with employees. Down to Cook plans to use the funds to expand its team with marketing and product development roles and transition to more eco-friendly packaging.
The startup also raised more than $60,000 through an equity crowdfunding campaign.“I started with the challenging question: How can I make plant-based food accessible and healthy?” said Dr. Saigal, a food scientist who began her career formulating reduced-fat ranch dressing. “I understand that vegetarian and vegan diets can be a challenge for a number of reasons, with access and inclusivity being a big one. Many vegan products price people out, and the more affordable solutions like tofu, lentils, etc., take some effort and know-how to make in a way that fits in people’s lifestyles. This is a major focus of mine and honestly one of the things that excites me most about building Down to Cook.”