WORLD TRENDS IN FOOD INNOVATION – ARTIFICIAL PROTEINS

In a previous article we introduced the theme of foodtech (https://www.bivo.it/en/world-trend-foodtech/), giving a brief summary of the main areas in which the most innovative food companies in the world they are working.

We are talking here about one of the most dynamic and interesting areas, the one concerning artificial proteins. It is a world that is emerging in the last few years, relating to companies that invest in the development of proteins that do not derive from products of the earth, but are created in the laboratory.

Strange as it may seem to many, and to some even wrong, it is important once again to remember the enormous problem we are facing as humanity: our current food model is absolutely unsustainable.

With Bivo we have chosen the path of natural ingredients, trying to create an innovative and sustainable product, without having to resort to anything artificial. However, this does not mean ignoring the innovations around the theme of vegetable proteins, which we follow with great curiosity.

Once again, let’s start with concrete examples so as to better understand what we are talking about, dividing into at least four types of products related to this area.

Animal proteins created in the laboratory

In English the type of product is called “cultured meat”, that is meat grown in the laboratory (sometimes we use a term that perhaps sounds better: “clean meat”). This is the possibility of developing products based on animal meat, starting with stem cells, without having to breed and kill any living being, and without having to waste the enormous resources necessary for breeding.

In this category we name Memphis Meats (https://www.memphismeats.com/) a very well-funded American company, supported by some of the most important entrepreneurs and personalities in the world (think of Bill Gates of Microsoft and Richard Branson of Virgin Group ). The first kilo of meat created by Memphis Meats had a cost of around 40,000 dollars (not really cheap!). By 2021 the plan is to make the cost of production accessible in order to start marketing itself.

Another very interesting reality is that of Mosa Meat (https://www.mosameat.com/), founded by a professor from the University of Maastrict (Marc Post, whom we had the good fortune to meet in Berlin on the occasion of the opening of Proveg Accelerator, where Bivo was invited as a representative of the Italian footech world, see the article where we talked about it: https://www.bivo.it/en/proveg-a-modern-incubator-for-sustainable-companies/). Mosa Meat was the very first reality to develop lab-grown meat, thanks to the support of Sergey Brin (one of Google’s co-founders). The production of the first hamburger was made as early as 2013, at a cost of $ 250,000! There is also talk here of 2021-2022 for the availability of a product ready for sale.

Vegetable based “meat”

How can meat be totally vegetable-based? It is not really meat, but the technological development of our times is such that we are able to recreate from totally vegetable ingredients of products that have exactly the organoleptic characteristics of the meat.

Flavor of the flesh, the scent of the flesh, the color of the flesh, the consistency of the meat … they are cooked like meat … all thanks to the many tens of millions of dollars of investment in research and development.

Science fiction? No, reality already today. Look what happens in the United States, with companies like Beyond Meat (https://www.beyondmeat.com/) and Impossible Burgers (https://impossiblefoods.com).

Impossible Burgers has collected over 300 million in the last round of financing, while Beyond Meat has even been listed on the stock exchange. In short, these are startups that have already won their bet, with their products available in many American supermarkets and in huge growth. There is no lack of sponsorship by NBA stars, surfers and various sportsmen, in true US style 😉

Vegetable-based “eggs”

Once again, the goal is to lower the environmental impact of the food we eat, in this case eggs and its derivatives.

Surely the most active company in the creation of “eggs” and derivatives (such as mayonnaise) starting from totally vegetable ingredients is JUST, another American company that we have been following for years (and we had already written in our blog https://www.bivo.it/en/startup-to-notice-power-gari-by-just-inc/).

Vegetable-based “fish”

Could you miss the fish in our roundup of new products based on artificial proteins?

Clearly not. The problem of the sustainability of fishing in our seas is not new, and in recent years it has added to the alarm related to plastic (a subject we have been talking about for years, well before it became – fortunately! – in fashion: https://www.bivo.it/en/oceans-pollution/).

We had some time ago talked about Ocean Hugger Foods and his Ahimi (https://www.bivo.it/en/startup-to-notice-ocean-hugger-foods/), but also take a look at Good Catch Foods (https://goodcatchfoods.com ). Where are they from? America, baby.

We have only given you a few examples, but there are so many innovative products and companies in this category.

And in Italy? Unfortunately, nothing at all.

At least from what we know: if you have any Italian realities to tell us about this sector, write to us at info@bivo.it: we will be delighted to be able to add them to this article!

A kind reader tells us a very Italian company: JOY s.r.l. from Perugia, which produces vegan products under the “Food Evolution” brand. Among their products some that fall into the category “vegetable-based meat”, such as http://foodevolution.it/en/slices/.