US alternative-protein group Meati Foods has announced the appointment of Phil Graves as the new CEO.

Graves, who also becomes a board member, takes over the position from Tyler Huggins, who co-founded the mushroom protein products company in 2017 with Justin Whiteley.

Huggins will transfer to the role of chief innovation officer, as the company looks to launch a new range featuring its MushroomRoot Chef Cut product.

Graves was originally appointed to Meati as CFO earlier this month.

His previous experience includes two years managing the buffalo meat producer, Wild Idea Buffalo Company.

Commenting on Grave’s appointment, Huggins said in a statement: “We founded Meati based on a shared passion to build a sustainable food system, unlocked by nature, that could deliver nutritious, high-quality, and delicious products to consumers around the world.

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“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved to date, and I am confident that in Phil we have found the right individual to lead the company to our next exciting chapter. I am eager to support Phil, while leaning into my own strengths and take MushroomRoot to the next level.”  

Alongside the c-suite shake up, the company confirmed to Just Food that it has cut 13% of its workforce, as part of its plans to “continue the work to rightsize its workforce and accelerate the company’s path to profitability.”

In a statement, Graves said: “These changes allow us to better serve our customers and pave the way for long-term, sustainable growth. Our future is bright. This category-defining product is already in 3,600 stores nationwide after just one year of production, showcasing its boundless potential.”

Meati said the business rejuggle is “essential for aligning resources with profitability objectives and follow precedents set by other leading companies navigating transformative market shifts.”

Such “changes” are not expected to disrupt its supply chain, the group added.

The company made a 5% cut to its staff (equivalent to 17 positions) last June. The move came following its opening of its new production site, or ‘mega ranch’, in Thornton, Colorado the previous January.

At the time, Meati said in a statement that it was still “as bullish as ever” about its outlook.

Speaking to Just Food last October, Huggins said the group was still confident it would hit its $1bn Target by 2025, despite slowing consumer demand for alternative-proteins in the US.

“We see no lack of demand at all. We for sure have a billion dollars of interest”, he said.

When asked for further information on the job cuts, Huggins said: “We’ve set very ambitious and mission-driven goals. That path is a winding path.

“In the early days, it was all about speed, growth and getting to market and getting product out there in a substantial way and we’ve achieved that. We’re making difficult calls now to establish a sustainable business model.”

Meati manufactures a range of meat alternatives using its MushroomRoot protein, made from mycelium, a muscular structure found in fungi.

Its products include garlic and pepper steaks, classic steaks, crispy, spicy and Italian seasoned cutlets, crispy protein bites and a trio of jerky snacks.

The group markets its goods in 3,600 locations across the US, such as Target, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Meijer, and Super Target.

It aims to have presence in more than 10,000 locations by the end of the year.