Meet the 7 impact-driven startups that just joined our programme

Seven food-tech startups just joined the latest (8th) edition of the ProVeg Incubator accelerator programme. Let’s meet them.

The first cohort of impact-driven startups of 2022 is kicking off today at the ProVeg Incubator. We’re onboarding seven pioneering companies from Colombia, Israel, the US, Canada, India, and Europe in what is the 8th edition of our world-renowned alt-protein accelerator programme.

Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll be working closely with these companies. Our job is to support them in building their mission-driven businesses, with the aim of reducing the consumption of animals by 50% by the year 2040.

From mushroom-based ingredients to cultured fat to animal-free egg protein, these founders are spearheading an array of ground-breaking projects. Without further ado, let’s meet our latest seven impact-driven startups. 

Fotortec: tackling the universal challenge of food waste, in a new way

Fotortec develops mushroom-based ingredients for the alt-protein industry, using oyster mushrooms that grow on vegetable waste. Globally, every year, about 46% of the fruit and vegetables produced for human consumption are thrown away.

Using a business model that is both scalable and circular, this startup is addressing the universal problem of food waste while supplying plant-based food manufacturers with innovative new ingredients. The team at Fotortec can upcycle vegetable side-streams anywhere in the world, using a unique technological process that mimics the way vegetable biomass is recycled in nature.

The company currently offers a line of three products. This includes a protein isolate packed with 18 amino acids, a flavour enhancer that cuts sodium content and CO2 production by 90%, and a customisable meat-like texturiser. All Fotortec products are designed to bring eco-positive plant-based nutrition to consumers from all walks of life.

Rami Jadaa and Felipe Le Blanc founded the company in Colombia in 2014. They have since also expanded to Chile and the US.

OceanTastes: eel and oysters, anyone?

OceanTastes aims to produce cultured seafood using proprietary technologies in cell-line isolation, cost-effective serum-free media, and plant-based scaffolding. The company’s vision is to address global food challenges by reducing animal consumption while ensuring nutritious food and preserving flavour. 

The team has extensive experience in bioprocessing for scaling up high-value food products such as American eel and Eastern oysters. OceanTastes’ marketing strategy is based on creating channels with conventional seafood industries and food-manufacturing companies in long-term agreements, as well as delivering products directly to consumers.

Peter (Sepehr) Nesaei, Reza Ovissi, and Nitin Nitin founded OceanTastes in 2021 in the USA.

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

EatMyPlants: fermentation meets microalgae

EatMyPlants is working on alternative-seafood products based on microalgae and produced using fermentation processes. Microalgae have exciting nutritional and sustainability traits, as well as vast and largely unexploited R&D potential.

With overfishing, pollution, and climate change causing increasing harm to the world’s oceans, the time is right for the rise of plant-based seafood! EatMyPlants plans to enter the market with a canned-tuna alternative.

Berenike Zimmer and Arvid Seeberg-Elverfeldt founded the company together in 2021 in Germany.

Biofect Innovations: the magic ingredient that gives meat its meaty taste

Biofect Innovations is a biotech company that is harnessing the power of microorganisms to produce valuable ingredient products. The startup leverages synthetic biology to bio-engineer microbes, ‘teaching’ them to produce ingredients using fermentation technology. Biofect uses various industrial waste streams as feedstock, which their proprietary microbes convert into high-value ingredients that are efficiently and sustainably produced.

The startup aims to help plant-based meat producers create more meat-like products. They’ll do this by offering analogues of animal-based ingredients that make plant-based meat look, cook, and taste like animal meat – starting with heme, the magic ingredient that gives meat its meaty taste.

Biofect’s proprietary microbes also produce other ingredients, including milk proteins and flavour enhancers. These have broad applications in the food/beverage, cosmetics, and nutraceutical industries.

Dr. Ralph Christian Delos Santos, John Abousawan, Teshager Kefale, and Louis Lo founded the company together in 2017 in Canada.

Cultimate Foods: making plant-based meats taste like the real thing

Cultimate Foods is working on a cultured-fat ingredient for B2B channels. The product is designed to make plant-based meat alternatives taste like the real thing. That means bringing authentic meat taste, texture, tenderness, and mouthfeel to meat substitutes.

Biofect is one of 8 impact-driven startups to join our latest cohort
The founding team of Biofect Innovations

Furthermore, the cultured-fat ingredient offers a substitute for unsustainable plant oils as well as for flavouring formulations in plant-based meats. Cultimate Foods also intends supplying cultured-meat producers with cultured fat. 

Eugenia Sague, George Zhelezr, Oskar Latyshev founded the company in 2021 in Germany. The trio have backgrounds in the plant-based and cultured-meat industries and a broad network in the alt-protein world.

In addition, Cultimate Foods is partnering with German universities and biotech companies. The team aims to finalise the first prototype of its cultured-fat ingredient by the beginning of 2023.

Rewild Solutions: producing meat alternatives in just two weeks

Rewild’s mission is to minimise animal slaughter, human malnutrition, and climate change issues by offering an alternative whole-cut meat with the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of real meat. Its meat product is a nutritional and nutraceutical powerhouse that does not contain any antibiotics, pesticides, or allergens.

The company’s proprietary technology allows its alt-meat product to be produced in just two weeks, allowing it to be affordable and aimed at a mass market. And, just like a traditional whole-cut, Rewild’s alt-meat will be highly versatile and suitable for a variety of commercial and domestic uses.

Prateek Patra and Dr. Sapan Kumar founded Rewild Solutions in 2022 in India.

Fotortec is one of 8 impact-driven startups to join our latest cohort
Fotortec develops mushroom-based ingredients for the alt-protein industry, using oyster mushrooms that grow on vegetable waste.

Fabumin: a new generation of egg protein

Fabumin is developing a plant-based substitute for albumin, the protein in egg white, which is a major raw material in the global food industry. As well as being of animal origin, albumin has several drawbacks. It’s allergenic, egg prices fluctuate, and egg production has a detrimental effect on the environment. Producing a single egg requires 30 litres of fresh water and emits 230 grams of greenhouse gases. 

Aquafaba – the cooking water from legumes – is a natural ingredient and a promising plant-based substitute for albumin since it is an industrial by-product of the legume industry. Aquafaba is normally disposed of in waste-water systems. However, Fabumin’s technology can convert it into a powder in an efficient and inexpensive way, thus creating an innovative and revolutionary raw material. The evaporated water is returned to the factory, aligning with the principles of the circular economy.

Adi Yehezkely and Adi Lengel founded Fabium in 2021 in Israel.

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