Australian food tech startup Nourish Ingredients has received $28.6 million in a Series A funding for its animal-free fat business.
The round was led by Horizons Ventures, which was joined by Main Sequence Ventures and Hostplus. The funding will be used to scale production and extend product development.
Part of its scaling and R&D plans includes partnerships with the CSIRO as well as several other institutions and startups world wide.
It's all about fat
While there are plenty of lab-grown and meat-alternative startups in the sector, Nourish Ingredients is doing something different by developing meat-free fat using synthetic biology. It’s largely able to do this because the founders, Dr James Petrie and Dr Ben Leita, are experienced former CSIRO scientists.
Nourish delved heavily into meat and dairy products to find that there are unique fats and oils that can’t be replicated by plants in taste or behaviour. Instead of looking there for solutions, Nourish utilised microbes to create fats with sugar as well as a proprietary yeast strain and fermentation process. This allowed the creation of the molecular structure of animal fats without actually having to use any animals.
According to the company, fats and oils are key components when it comes to what makes meat and dairy-based products taste so good. Its aim has been to develop animal-free fats that cook, smell and taste like these animal proteins as to better convert meat-eaters. “The first generation of alternative proteins made waves, mostly with vegans and vegetarians,” CEO and co-founder Petrie said in a statement. “By overlooking fats, the market has missed the most essential element to the taste experience. That’s where Nourish comes in. We’re not just mimicking meat — we’re creating animal ingredients but from an animal-free source.” Nourish Ingredients claims it is able to create an experience that not only compares to real animal products but even goes beyond it. “Feedback from our alt-protein food partners has been very positive. Nourish’s products have a transformative impact on their products — they haven’t tasted anything like it before. Our main challenge is to scale fast enough to meet their expectations but we are also deeply invested in pushing the boundaries of alt-protein taste and experience into new spaces,” Petrie said.
The new funding will be used to scale production and extend product development. In part, this will be done via partnerships with leading institutions worldwide and other startups working in the space. In fact, for Nourish this is a collaborative space, to scale and grow partnerships and sharing of knowledge is essential.
Listen to our FoodTech Junkies episode to learn more about Nourish, their aim to make healthy, clean sustainable fats and reach price partity.