Cultured fat is going to make plant-based meat alternatives taste like the real thing

Cultimate Foods is a cellular-agriculture company that is developing a cultured-fat ingredient for use by B2B customers in the food industry. Eugenia Sague, Oskar Latyshev, and George Zheleznyi founded the startup in Germany in 2021. This is their story.

What does your startup do and what is your mission? 

Cultimate Foods is a cellular-agriculture company working on a B2B ingredient based on cultured fat. The product is designed to make plant-based meat alternatives taste like the real thing, thus helping to reduce the global consumption of animals. 

The ingredient brings the authentic taste, texture, tenderness, and mouthfeel of conventional meat to meat alternatives. Moreover, it is a substitute for unsustainable plant oils. In the long term, Cultimate Foods also intends supplying cultured-meat producers with its cultured-fat product. 

Where did the idea for your company come from? 

The company was founded by professionals from both the plant-based and cultured-meat sectors. After several years of working in the alternative-protein sector, we were all thinking about the future of alternative meat. We believe that the future of meat is hybrid products – a combination of plant proteins and cultured ingredients.

Cultured fat will help plant-based products taste like conventional meat, says Cultimate Foods
Cultimate Foods' cultured fat product is designed to make plant-based meat alternatives taste like the real thing.

Tell us about your team. Why are you the right people for the project? 

Oskar: Strong technical skills as well as management experience with R&D projects, including cellular agriculture.

George: Very good accounting skills, deep knowledge of financial planning and operations, and startup-execution skills.

Eugenia: A deep knowledge of the alternative-protein industry in Europe, and in Germany in particular, as well as a strong understanding of the legal and administrative framework. Together, we’re a perfect hybrid team for a hybrid product!

What are your favourite parts about building your business?

Making the world a better place. 

What have been the main challenges you’ve faced? 

Our company has been severely affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Initially, we had been planning to conduct some of our R&D activities with Russian universities. We were planning to kick off the process in March 2022 as we had negotiated contracts and a detailed R&D plan. 

Then, in late February, we urgently needed to pivot and arrange everything in Germany instead. In less than a month, we have negotiated with German R&D partners and prepared everything to kick off in Germany. This required a lot of effort from our side, but overcoming such a crisis has made our team more solid than ever. 

Cultimate Foods is one of 8 impact-driven startups to join our latest cohort
The founding team of cultivated-fat startup Cultimate Foods

What is it that makes your company unique? 

We do not just replicate animal fat – we develop a B2B ingredient based on cultured fat that brings the sensory characteristics of conventional meat to plant-based meat alternatives. Additionally, Cultimate Foods is run by a unique team of impact-driven people with a proven entrepreneurial track record and established capabilities in terms of cultured meat.

Why did you decide to join the ProVeg Incubator? 

We are looking forward to expanding our network and partnerships. Given the fact that ProVeg has launched a CellAg division, we see many opportunities in joining the current cohort. We are also currently in the fundraising phase and would be happy to see ProVeg among our early investors.

In your opinion, what do you think it takes for a startup to be successful? 

The right timing, the right team, and the right idea.

What do you hope to achieve with your company in the next 12 months?

At the end of our pre-seed phase, we plan to finalise the first prototype of our cultured-fat ingredient and host a tasting event.

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