4 Min reading
Melt & Marble, a Swedish company that uses precision fermentation to produce sustainable fats without animals, has secured € 750,000 in fresh funds. Proceeds from the seed cycle will be used to develop the company’s fermentation-based fat platform, which aims to ‘erase’ the lack of taste when it comes to plant-based meat alternatives by providing ‘ delicious animal fats without the animal ”.
Swedish precision fermentation startup Melt & Marble closed € 750,000 in a seed funding round led by Nordic FoodTech VC. The cycle was also joined by PINC, the VC arm of Finnish food giant Pauling, as well as Purple Orange Ventures and Chalmers Ventures. Formerly known as Biopetrolia, the company says the new capital will be a “kick start” for its goal of developing a complete platform of precision fermented animal-free fats.
‘Bridging the taste gap’
Using precision fermentation, Melt & Marble makes real bioidentical animal fats without the animal.
“Fat is the key to the experience of eating a delicious piece of meat,” said Founder and CEO Anastasia Krivoruchko. “Because the properties of vegetable fats are different from those of animal fats, the experience of eating many vegetable meats has so far been inferior to reality. This is something we want to address. Using our technology, we can create fats that are identical to, or even better, animal fats.
The way Melt & Marble mimics real animal fat using fermentation is done through an engineered process of the very yeast metabolism. This is the same technology that players like Perfect Day are using to create their bioidentical whey proteins, which are now used to make lactose-free and cruelty-free ice cream without any cows.
Melt & Marble says it can mimic any fat structure, as well as develop “completely new and better fats” using this technology, opening up new opportunities for the company to create tailor-made fats for brands. herbal.
“It could become a booster for the whole industry,” says Krivoruchko.
Melt & Marble will launch a first prototype by the end of 2021
Fueled by seed funding, the company says it plans to launch its first prototype animal-free fat before the end of this year. It will accelerate the R&D of its platform, which is “under development since 2010” with the CSO and co-founder Dr Florian David at the helm. Krivoruchko and David are also joined by co-founder Professor Jens Nielsen of Chalmers University of Technology.
Previously known as Biopetrolia, the startup, which was originally founded as a patent-holding company for the research group, has pivoted this year to create its own line of animal-free fats for meat applications. herbal.
“We realized there was this huge need in the market that our technology, which we’ve been developing for years already, was perfectly suited to meet,” said David, who revealed that Melt & Marble’s first prototype will be a grease similar to beef.
After launching its beef-fat-mimicking alternative, the company plans to create a whole line of fats to usher in what it calls the “next generation of plant-based meats” designed for “juicy meat-loving consumers”.
Give up coconut and palm oil
For the main investor Nordic FoodTech VC, the solution proposed by Melt & Marble will not only satisfy the taste aspect of vegetable meats. As the demand for vegan and healthier meat alternatives continues to grow, the demand for fats and oils which are key components of plant-based meat production will also increase, which could lead to unintended consequences. and not sustainable.
Currently, the main fats used in vegan analogues include palm oil and coconut oil, the production of which has been linked to harmful impacts on tropical biodiversity.
“With the growth rate of plant-based meat, there will not be enough coconut palms to support demand,” commented Lauri Reuter, partner of Nordic FoodTech VC. “If we are to replace a significant part of animal production with plant-based meats, we need a more sustainable and scalable source of fat. ”
Melt & Marble is not the only company developing sustainable animal-free fat solutions. Other players in the space include Australian startup Nourish Ingredients, which secured $ 11 million earlier this year for its precision fermentation platform “stirring” alternative fats and oils.
Some are using cell farming technology to grow animal fat directly from animal cells, such as Hoxton Farms in London and Cubiq Foods in Barcelona.
Main image courtesy of Unsplash.