Canberra-based Nourish Ingredients has closed a US$11 million financing round co-led by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Main Sequence Ventures, the manager of the Australian government’s CSIRO Innovation Fund. Nourish says that the funding will go towards growing its team and range of sustainable animal-free fats and oils.
Nourish Ingredients has raised US$11 million in an initial investment round led by Horizons Ventures and Main Sequence Ventures, the company announced on Friday (March 26). Using its proprietary fermentation technology, the Australian biotech “brews” alternative fats and oils that are sustainable and animal-free, which can also be customised to suit varied flavour profiles and applications in alternative protein products.
The fresh capital raised will go towards Nourish Ingredients’ expansion plan, which includes growing its team and researchers and scientists and its product portfolio.
“This sizable funding allows us to add more brilliant, world-class talent to our team, expand our product range, and bring our fats and oils to even more customers across the globe,” said co-founder and CEO James Petrie in a statement. Petrie started Nourish Ingredients last year with co-founder Ben Leita.
“It’s a huge step toward the realisation of our biggest goal – to bring to the world tastier, more sustainable fats and oils that don’t necessitate the use of animal products.”
Nourish’s fats and oils will change the way the planet looks at this market by making their products taste just as good as the original, but better.James Petrie, Co-Founder & CEO, Nourish Ingredients
Fermentation is the rising “third pillar” within the alternative protein industry, with food tech players leveraging the technology to create novel animal-free alternatives that can range from super sustainable complete plant-based fungi proteins developed by Bill Gates-backed Nature’s Fynd, to Perfect Day’s animal-free real dairy ice cream.
Nourish Ingredients stands out as one of the few fermentation food techs dedicated to creating animal-free fats and oils, an essential ingredient to make alternative proteins replicate the sensorial, textural and taste of its real meat counterparts – such as the marbling on a cut of steak, or the elasticity of melted dairy cheese.
“We believe we are only in the infancy of how big the plant-based and alternative proteins market can really become,” said Petrie. “Nourish’s fats and oils will change the way the planet looks at this market by making their products taste just as good as the original, but better – and we couldn’t be more excited to be on the forefront of innovation in this category.”
Perhaps one of the most exciting innovations that Nourish Ingredients presents to the table is its platform that enables customisation – its fermentation process can be tweaked and tailored for different products, from seafood to pork and beef, so alternative protein producers can mimic the flavour and mouthfeel that consumers crave.
Our process allows us to create endless options sustainably from sugar-based feedstocks, with the flexibility to tune the triglycerides to the exact taste and feel that’s needed. The use cases for our fats and oils are literally limitless.Nourish Ingredients
“We’ve engineered a way to literally brew fats that have the same makeup as animal fats, without the animal,” the company explains on its website.
“Our process allows us to create endless options sustainably from sugar-based feedstocks, with the flexibility to tune the triglycerides to the exact taste and feel that’s needed. The use cases for our fats and oils are literally limitless.”
While Nourish is among the few food tech startups focused on fats, there are already a handful applying different technologies to develop animal-free alternatives.
While some firms such as London-based Hoxton Farms, Barcelona’s Cubiq Foods and Belgian startup Peace of Meat – who has recently been acquired by Israeli cultivated meat company Meat-Tech 3D – are tapping cellular agriculture to create molecularly identical animal fats, Boston-based Motif FoodWorks is aiming to create plant-based fats that are solid at room temperature.
Lead image courtesy of Nourish Ingredients.