Natalie Portman financially supports a French startup producing vegan “meat” products

Hollywood star Natalie Portman has been the latest to financially back a French startup that seeks to produce the “holy grail” of the growing plant-based meat industry.

Paris-based company La Vie recently raised 25 million euros ($28.3 million) from investment funds and climate-conscious celebrities like Portman, an avowed vegan.

While they weren’t the first to market vegetable bacon, the founders of La Vie bet their success on mastering the imitation of pork fat, which sets it apart from other brands.

“We are today the only ones in the world to have succeeded in developing a vegetable fat that cooks, fries, infuses and browns” like animal fat, enthused the CEO and co-founder of the company, Nicolas Schweitzer.

Startups and established food manufacturers have rolled out a variety of products aimed at replacing beef, chicken, and pork with plant-based ingredients.

A growing number of consumers are looking to reduce or eliminate meat from their diet due to concerns such as animal rights and the industry’s impact on the environment.

According to a 2021 report by market research firm Euromonitor International, more than one in four consumers worldwide say they try to limit their meat intake, in addition to the 10% of people who are vegetarian or vegan.