Did you know that 5% of Chileans now consider themselves vegetarian? This is huge news in a country where meaty family barbecues are an every-weekend occurrence. Meet Pow! Foods, Chile’s up-and-coming startup creating plant-based meat alternatives that are not only more sustainable, but specifically designed to be far healthier than their animal counterparts. Recently welcomed as ProVeg Incubator’s newest cohort to join its alternative protein accelerator programme, this female-led food tech has already wowed audiences with its first product that targets Latin America’s favourite processed meat – animal-free chorizo. In a recent interview with ProVeg, co-founders Amy León and Eyleen Obidic shared more about their company and their story – so without further ado, we decided to pick out some five things you should know about one of Santiago’s most exciting alternative protein startups.
1. Pow! Foods’ plant-based chorizo is way more nutritious than the real deal
Using their proprietary biotech process, Pow! Foods was able to develop a vegan chorizo alternative that wasn’t just tasty and cruelty-free, but ultimately, far healthier than your average pork-based chorizo. Thanks to their technology, Amy says that their products “contain up to three times more protein and 70% less fat than conventional animal ones,” and added their approach means they are able to “replicate any product that you consume on a daily basis, but made from plants.”
2. Just because their analogue is healthier doesn’t mean it compromises on taste or flavour
The food tech made sure that their more nutritious substitute for one of Latin America’s most purchased and consumed meats delivered on taste in order to reach the masses and defy the common perception that healthier plant-based versions don’t taste as good. “Our chorizo has been developed to reproduce the flavour and texture of animal-based versions,” explains Eyleen. “It will appeal to all consumers, not just those who nourish themselves through a plant-based lifestyle.”
3. Amy and Eyleen also work with chemical engineer Rubén Bustos
While led by two female co-founders, Pow! Foods’ team includes Rubén Bustos, who heads R&D and the company. “Rubén has a PhD in chemical engineering and more than 28 years experience working in research and academia, as well assessing companies in the areas of R&D and biotechnology,” Eyleen shares.
4. The Pow! Foods team has already moved into pilot stage
“In less than a year, we have designed a unique process that allows us to replicate the texture and flavour of meat products with plants – specifically peas, corn, and rice,” Amy says in the interview. “We have built our company from nothing and have already moved from a laboratory prototype of our products to a pilot project – our pilot products are available at more than 30 locations around Chile.”
5. They want to lead the alternative protein revolution in Latin America
Pow! Foods is dedicated to making animal-free alternatives that can truly satisfy customers, Eyleen explains, saying that many of the existing substitutes on the market are still leaving people “searching for that combination of taste and nutrition coming together” and “that is what we are going to give them.” Amy adds that as they continue to build the brand’s portfolio of delicious yet healthy plant-based meats, Pow! Foods wants to be “recognised as a pioneer with regard to the quality, flavour, and texture of our products” with a presence across the Latin American region, including Chile, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.
All images courtesy of Pow! Foods.