Hemp, cauliflower and intellectual property: How to make cheese without cheese.

Hemp, cauliflower and intellectual property: How to make cheese without cheese.

By
Novagraaf
March 15, 2021

Plant-based products: a lively field of innovation where IP has an important role to play

Plant-based protein has become a hot topic in the food industry. Whether they’re driven by personal health concerns, or a desire for a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, more and more consumers are showing interest in these products. Indeed, according to a report by Research and Markets, the global market for plant-based protein is forecast to grow in value from USD 10.3 bn in 2020 to USD 14.5 bn in 2025. While this is clearly a growth market that responds to larger cultural concerns, it’s also a lively field of innovation and product development in which businesses from multinationals to startups are creating new products. 

Grounded Foods co-founders, Shaun Quade & Veronica Fil

One rising star in this space is Grounded Foods Co., a startup headed by LA-based Australian couple Shaun Quade and Veronica Fil. Shaun is a chef, formerly owner of Lûmé in Melbourne, which became known in fine dining circles for its adventures in culinary experimentation and molecular gastronomy; Veronica is an economist with extensive experience in marketing and branding. They’ve entered the market with a range of plant-based cheeses that has generated a lot of interest, not only among consumers, but also among companies looking to gain a foothold in the plant-based protein market. As the CEO of a fledgling business with a great idea in a highly competitive sector, Veronica had a deep understanding that intellectual property (IP) was her ace to play in building an economic moat that would enable Grounded Foods to pursue its R&D freely and to build a strong presence in the market. She got off to an early start on this journey when she advanced part of the funds which the company was granted from a startup accelerator towards securing Grounded Foods’ first IP rights. 

With IP, be one step ahead of copiers and the competition.

I was lucky to chat with Veronica about the Grounded Foods story, and she had lots of tales to tell about the times that IP played a key role in the development of their business. Indeed, Shaun’s experiences as a chef meant that they weren’t going into their venture blind: “In chefland,” she remarked “as soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on”.

 

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based recipes

Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible.

But with her background in branding and marketing, Veronica immediately saw that the trick was to focus on protecting Grounded Foods’ trademarks and designs. Their packaging has a sleek, modern esthetic and their brand persona is designed to set them apart from other players in the market and to appeal to a young, socially and ecologically conscious consumer with a sense of adventure in all things culinary. And this is definitely something that can be protected well. 

As soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on. Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible, that's why we focused on trademarks and designs.” - Veronica Fil, co-founder of Grounded Foods

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based spread

But while this was a start, other aspects of IP quickly came into play.

As Shaun ventured deeper into cheesemaking, he came to see that there was a lot more science to making cheese from plants than he had thought at first – after all, no one had made cheese out of fermented hemp or cauliflower before. The R&D was becoming a major part of their venture. “At the very beginning”, Veronica recalled, “we thought it’d be a trade secret situation. But we quickly figured that this wouldn’t remain a secret that long”. And fair enough, if the secret is going to come out anyway, at least let it out on your own terms – with a patent and the protection that it grants. Shaun and Veronica have already filed a first patent application, and as R&D grows in prominence, Veronica anticipates that others will come.  

Getting the IP right can give a real boost to startups as they raise funds, because investors place great importance on this.

Securing your IP rights now is a huge step towards securing the competitiveness of your business in the future and investors want every assurance that the bets they place today will pay off tomorrow. And indeed, IP greatly helped Grounded Foods to secure funding from investors. While Veronica was confident that Grounded Foods’ plant-based cheese proposition would have caught investors’ attention anyway because “it’s an exciting product with potentially massive market appeal”, she understood that investors needed to have answers to their questions concerning IP. Veronica emphasized that “it’s what investors want to see.” As it happens, Grounded Foods did get a higher valuation from investors, because the IP signaled the seriousness of the venture and its founders’ long-term vision. 

Written by Anca Draganescu-Pinawin
Head of Online Brand Protection at Novagraaf

Book an introduction meeting with Anca and her team for any advices on how to best protect your growing food business with a strong IP strategy.


Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community

Plant-based products: a lively field of innovation where IP has an important role to play

Plant-based protein has become a hot topic in the food industry. Whether they’re driven by personal health concerns, or a desire for a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, more and more consumers are showing interest in these products. Indeed, according to a report by Research and Markets, the global market for plant-based protein is forecast to grow in value from USD 10.3 bn in 2020 to USD 14.5 bn in 2025. While this is clearly a growth market that responds to larger cultural concerns, it’s also a lively field of innovation and product development in which businesses from multinationals to startups are creating new products. 

Grounded Foods co-founders, Shaun Quade & Veronica Fil

One rising star in this space is Grounded Foods Co., a startup headed by LA-based Australian couple Shaun Quade and Veronica Fil. Shaun is a chef, formerly owner of Lûmé in Melbourne, which became known in fine dining circles for its adventures in culinary experimentation and molecular gastronomy; Veronica is an economist with extensive experience in marketing and branding. They’ve entered the market with a range of plant-based cheeses that has generated a lot of interest, not only among consumers, but also among companies looking to gain a foothold in the plant-based protein market. As the CEO of a fledgling business with a great idea in a highly competitive sector, Veronica had a deep understanding that intellectual property (IP) was her ace to play in building an economic moat that would enable Grounded Foods to pursue its R&D freely and to build a strong presence in the market. She got off to an early start on this journey when she advanced part of the funds which the company was granted from a startup accelerator towards securing Grounded Foods’ first IP rights. 

With IP, be one step ahead of copiers and the competition.

I was lucky to chat with Veronica about the Grounded Foods story, and she had lots of tales to tell about the times that IP played a key role in the development of their business. Indeed, Shaun’s experiences as a chef meant that they weren’t going into their venture blind: “In chefland,” she remarked “as soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on”.

 

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based recipes

Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible.

But with her background in branding and marketing, Veronica immediately saw that the trick was to focus on protecting Grounded Foods’ trademarks and designs. Their packaging has a sleek, modern esthetic and their brand persona is designed to set them apart from other players in the market and to appeal to a young, socially and ecologically conscious consumer with a sense of adventure in all things culinary. And this is definitely something that can be protected well. 

As soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on. Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible, that's why we focused on trademarks and designs.” - Veronica Fil, co-founder of Grounded Foods

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based spread

But while this was a start, other aspects of IP quickly came into play.

As Shaun ventured deeper into cheesemaking, he came to see that there was a lot more science to making cheese from plants than he had thought at first – after all, no one had made cheese out of fermented hemp or cauliflower before. The R&D was becoming a major part of their venture. “At the very beginning”, Veronica recalled, “we thought it’d be a trade secret situation. But we quickly figured that this wouldn’t remain a secret that long”. And fair enough, if the secret is going to come out anyway, at least let it out on your own terms – with a patent and the protection that it grants. Shaun and Veronica have already filed a first patent application, and as R&D grows in prominence, Veronica anticipates that others will come.  

Getting the IP right can give a real boost to startups as they raise funds, because investors place great importance on this.

Securing your IP rights now is a huge step towards securing the competitiveness of your business in the future and investors want every assurance that the bets they place today will pay off tomorrow. And indeed, IP greatly helped Grounded Foods to secure funding from investors. While Veronica was confident that Grounded Foods’ plant-based cheese proposition would have caught investors’ attention anyway because “it’s an exciting product with potentially massive market appeal”, she understood that investors needed to have answers to their questions concerning IP. Veronica emphasized that “it’s what investors want to see.” As it happens, Grounded Foods did get a higher valuation from investors, because the IP signaled the seriousness of the venture and its founders’ long-term vision. 

Written by Anca Draganescu-Pinawin
Head of Online Brand Protection at Novagraaf

Book an introduction meeting with Anca and her team for any advices on how to best protect your growing food business with a strong IP strategy.


Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community

Plant-based products: a lively field of innovation where IP has an important role to play

Plant-based protein has become a hot topic in the food industry. Whether they’re driven by personal health concerns, or a desire for a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, more and more consumers are showing interest in these products. Indeed, according to a report by Research and Markets, the global market for plant-based protein is forecast to grow in value from USD 10.3 bn in 2020 to USD 14.5 bn in 2025. While this is clearly a growth market that responds to larger cultural concerns, it’s also a lively field of innovation and product development in which businesses from multinationals to startups are creating new products. 

Grounded Foods co-founders, Shaun Quade & Veronica Fil

One rising star in this space is Grounded Foods Co., a startup headed by LA-based Australian couple Shaun Quade and Veronica Fil. Shaun is a chef, formerly owner of Lûmé in Melbourne, which became known in fine dining circles for its adventures in culinary experimentation and molecular gastronomy; Veronica is an economist with extensive experience in marketing and branding. They’ve entered the market with a range of plant-based cheeses that has generated a lot of interest, not only among consumers, but also among companies looking to gain a foothold in the plant-based protein market. As the CEO of a fledgling business with a great idea in a highly competitive sector, Veronica had a deep understanding that intellectual property (IP) was her ace to play in building an economic moat that would enable Grounded Foods to pursue its R&D freely and to build a strong presence in the market. She got off to an early start on this journey when she advanced part of the funds which the company was granted from a startup accelerator towards securing Grounded Foods’ first IP rights. 

With IP, be one step ahead of copiers and the competition.

I was lucky to chat with Veronica about the Grounded Foods story, and she had lots of tales to tell about the times that IP played a key role in the development of their business. Indeed, Shaun’s experiences as a chef meant that they weren’t going into their venture blind: “In chefland,” she remarked “as soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on”.

 

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based recipes

Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible.

But with her background in branding and marketing, Veronica immediately saw that the trick was to focus on protecting Grounded Foods’ trademarks and designs. Their packaging has a sleek, modern esthetic and their brand persona is designed to set them apart from other players in the market and to appeal to a young, socially and ecologically conscious consumer with a sense of adventure in all things culinary. And this is definitely something that can be protected well. 

As soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on. Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible, that's why we focused on trademarks and designs.” - Veronica Fil, co-founder of Grounded Foods

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based spread

But while this was a start, other aspects of IP quickly came into play.

As Shaun ventured deeper into cheesemaking, he came to see that there was a lot more science to making cheese from plants than he had thought at first – after all, no one had made cheese out of fermented hemp or cauliflower before. The R&D was becoming a major part of their venture. “At the very beginning”, Veronica recalled, “we thought it’d be a trade secret situation. But we quickly figured that this wouldn’t remain a secret that long”. And fair enough, if the secret is going to come out anyway, at least let it out on your own terms – with a patent and the protection that it grants. Shaun and Veronica have already filed a first patent application, and as R&D grows in prominence, Veronica anticipates that others will come.  

Getting the IP right can give a real boost to startups as they raise funds, because investors place great importance on this.

Securing your IP rights now is a huge step towards securing the competitiveness of your business in the future and investors want every assurance that the bets they place today will pay off tomorrow. And indeed, IP greatly helped Grounded Foods to secure funding from investors. While Veronica was confident that Grounded Foods’ plant-based cheese proposition would have caught investors’ attention anyway because “it’s an exciting product with potentially massive market appeal”, she understood that investors needed to have answers to their questions concerning IP. Veronica emphasized that “it’s what investors want to see.” As it happens, Grounded Foods did get a higher valuation from investors, because the IP signaled the seriousness of the venture and its founders’ long-term vision. 

Written by Anca Draganescu-Pinawin
Head of Online Brand Protection at Novagraaf

Book an introduction meeting with Anca and her team for any advices on how to best protect your growing food business with a strong IP strategy.


Plant-based products: a lively field of innovation where IP has an important role to play

Plant-based protein has become a hot topic in the food industry. Whether they’re driven by personal health concerns, or a desire for a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, more and more consumers are showing interest in these products. Indeed, according to a report by Research and Markets, the global market for plant-based protein is forecast to grow in value from USD 10.3 bn in 2020 to USD 14.5 bn in 2025. While this is clearly a growth market that responds to larger cultural concerns, it’s also a lively field of innovation and product development in which businesses from multinationals to startups are creating new products. 

Grounded Foods co-founders, Shaun Quade & Veronica Fil

One rising star in this space is Grounded Foods Co., a startup headed by LA-based Australian couple Shaun Quade and Veronica Fil. Shaun is a chef, formerly owner of Lûmé in Melbourne, which became known in fine dining circles for its adventures in culinary experimentation and molecular gastronomy; Veronica is an economist with extensive experience in marketing and branding. They’ve entered the market with a range of plant-based cheeses that has generated a lot of interest, not only among consumers, but also among companies looking to gain a foothold in the plant-based protein market. As the CEO of a fledgling business with a great idea in a highly competitive sector, Veronica had a deep understanding that intellectual property (IP) was her ace to play in building an economic moat that would enable Grounded Foods to pursue its R&D freely and to build a strong presence in the market. She got off to an early start on this journey when she advanced part of the funds which the company was granted from a startup accelerator towards securing Grounded Foods’ first IP rights. 

With IP, be one step ahead of copiers and the competition.

I was lucky to chat with Veronica about the Grounded Foods story, and she had lots of tales to tell about the times that IP played a key role in the development of their business. Indeed, Shaun’s experiences as a chef meant that they weren’t going into their venture blind: “In chefland,” she remarked “as soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on”.

 

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based recipes

Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible.

But with her background in branding and marketing, Veronica immediately saw that the trick was to focus on protecting Grounded Foods’ trademarks and designs. Their packaging has a sleek, modern esthetic and their brand persona is designed to set them apart from other players in the market and to appeal to a young, socially and ecologically conscious consumer with a sense of adventure in all things culinary. And this is definitely something that can be protected well. 

As soon as you post a dish on Instagram, everyone will try to copy the recipe or do something similar, with their own spin on it – there’s a lot of one-upping going on. Protecting a recipe is virtually impossible, that's why we focused on trademarks and designs.” - Veronica Fil, co-founder of Grounded Foods

Source: Grounded Foods plant-based spread

But while this was a start, other aspects of IP quickly came into play.

As Shaun ventured deeper into cheesemaking, he came to see that there was a lot more science to making cheese from plants than he had thought at first – after all, no one had made cheese out of fermented hemp or cauliflower before. The R&D was becoming a major part of their venture. “At the very beginning”, Veronica recalled, “we thought it’d be a trade secret situation. But we quickly figured that this wouldn’t remain a secret that long”. And fair enough, if the secret is going to come out anyway, at least let it out on your own terms – with a patent and the protection that it grants. Shaun and Veronica have already filed a first patent application, and as R&D grows in prominence, Veronica anticipates that others will come.  

Getting the IP right can give a real boost to startups as they raise funds, because investors place great importance on this.

Securing your IP rights now is a huge step towards securing the competitiveness of your business in the future and investors want every assurance that the bets they place today will pay off tomorrow. And indeed, IP greatly helped Grounded Foods to secure funding from investors. While Veronica was confident that Grounded Foods’ plant-based cheese proposition would have caught investors’ attention anyway because “it’s an exciting product with potentially massive market appeal”, she understood that investors needed to have answers to their questions concerning IP. Veronica emphasized that “it’s what investors want to see.” As it happens, Grounded Foods did get a higher valuation from investors, because the IP signaled the seriousness of the venture and its founders’ long-term vision. 

Written by Anca Draganescu-Pinawin
Head of Online Brand Protection at Novagraaf

Book an introduction meeting with Anca and her team for any advices on how to best protect your growing food business with a strong IP strategy.


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