Meet The 12 Next-Gen Food Techs Transforming The Future Of Protein

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Today (August 11), Big Idea Ventures (BIV) announces the launch of its second food technology accelerator program in New York City and Singapore. This year’s cohort includes 12 early-stage startups working in the plant-based and cell-based space, innovating new technologies that will be vital if we are to successfully shift towards a more sustainable food system. Below we highlight the exciting companies in BIV’s latest cohort.

Meet the Singapore cohort 

1. Zhenmeat: Range of Plant-Based Meats (China)

Source: Zhenmeat

Founded: 2018

Founder: Vince Lu

Headquarters: Beijing, China

Mission: Zhenmeat is China’s first and leading plant-based meat startup creating sustainable protein substitutes that are tailored to the Chinese palate. Its products include plant-based pork, mooncakes, sausages and meatballs, made from pea protein, fungus, cellulose, coconut oil and various natural flavour extracts and spices. Zhenmeat is also working on vegan crayfish and pork tenderloin. Their products are currently sold online and through various restaurant partners in China. 

2. WTH Foods: Range of Plant-Based Meats (Philippines)

Source: WTH Foods

Founded: 2019

Founders: Stephen Michael Co, Carlo Antonio Ng & Carissa Jane Lim

Headquarters: Manila, Philippines

Mission: WTH Foods (Worth The Health) is a plant-based meat company developing sustainable alternatives made using carefully-sourced local ingredients and inspired by regional flavours. Its products include pinoy pulled jackfruit “pork”, jackfruit nuggets and mung bean-based ground meat. WTH Foods’ products are currently available online via its website. 

3. GaiaFoods: Cell-Based Meat (Singapore)

Source: GaiaFoods

Founded: 2019

Founder: Vinayaka Srinivas & Thanh Hung Nguyen

Headquarters: Singapore

Mission: GaiaFoods is Singapore’s first cell-based red meat company. Using stem cell biotechnology, the company cultivates meat that tastes and looks exactly like real meat but without the need to harm animals, making it a cruelty-free and sustainable alternative, and does not contain any hormones, antibiotics or the use of any toxic chemicals. 

4. Fenn Foods: Plant-Based Meats (Australia)

Source: Fenn Foods

Founded: 2015

Founders: Alejandro Cancino & Paola Moro

Headquarters: Brisbane, Australia 

Mission: Fenn Foods is an Australian startup creating healthy, affordable and tasty plant-based protein alternatives made using ethically sourced ingredients such as textured vegetable protein derived from soybeans, yeast extract and pea protein. Its products include a beef alternative dubbed “veef”, schnitzel and chicken burger patties. The company does not use any ingredients that are GMO and source as many local and organic produce as possible. 

Meet the New York City cohort

5. Novel Farms, Inc: Cell-Based Jamon Iberico (California)

Source: Novel Farms

Founded: 2020

Founder: Nieves Martínez Marshall

Headquarters: Berkeley, California, U.S. 

Mission: Novel Farms, Inc. uses synthetic biology to make cruelty-free, cost-efficient and functionalised 3D scaffolds for the production of structured cultured meats and their first project is jamon iberico. Its technology helps to improve the marbling and texture of cell-based meats and can also reduce manufacturing costs. Its mission is to transform more sustainable and slaughter-free cell-based meats into a “sought-after culinary experience”. 

6. Wild For Co: Teff Snacks (California)

Source: Wild For Co.

Founded: 2013

Founder: Aleem Ahmed

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, U.S. 

Mission: Wild For Co. connects farmers to families by creating nutritious and delicious foods using the ancient Ethiopian superfood grain teff. Its star product is a vegan-friendly air-popped chip made with teff, which is naturally gluten-free, high-protein, high-fibre and is packed with nutrients such as calcium, iron and the essential amino acids.  

7. EVO Foods: Plant-Based Egg (India)

Source: EVO Foods

Founded: 2019

Founders: Kartik Dixit & Shraddha Bhansali

Headquarters: Mumbai, India 

Mission: EVO Foods is India’s first plant-based egg startup using food science and plant biochemistry to develop a vegan egg alternative. Its first product is a 100% plant-based liquid egg made from protein derived from lentils, which contains no cholesterol and antibiotics. It recently received angel investment from Wild Earth founder Ryan Bethencourt, as well as VegInvest and Shiok Meats co-founder Sandhya Sriram

8. Orbillion Bio: Cell-Based Wild Meats/Bison Jerky (California)

Source: Orbillion Bio

Founded: 2019

Founder: Patricia Bubner

Headquarters: Berkeley, California, U.S. 

Mission: Orbillion Bio is a startup looking to develop premium cell-based meat products from heritage cell lines that are directly sourced from farmers. On a mission to accelerate the broad availability of a variety of nutritious cultivated meat products, the startup’s first product will be bison jerky that is low-fat, low-cholesterol and high-protein. 

9. MeliBio: Cultivated Honey (California)

Source: MeliBio

Founded: 2020

Founders: Darko Mandich & Aaron Schaller

Headquarters: Berkeley, California, U.S. 

Mission: MeliBio is using microbiology to cultivate sustainable and clean honey that has the same taste and nutritional profile as conventional honey. Because it is produced without traditional beekeeping techniques, its honey does not harm pollinator diversity, especially wild and native bee populations, which have been jeopardized over the years by the expansion of commercial beekeeping.

10. Actual Veggies: Vegetal Plant-Based Burgers (New York)

Source: Actual Veggies

Founded: 2020

Founders: Jason Rosenbaum & Hailey Swartz

Headquarters: New York City, New York, U.S. 

Mission: Actual Veggies creates chef-crafted fresh and refrigerated burgers that puts vegetables front and centre – all their burgers are colourful, showcasing their primary vegetable ingredient. They contain only fresh farm veggies and natural binding units, such as kale, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and beets. With added plant proteins such as legumes and seeds, each patty has around 10 grams of protein. 

11. Biftek.co: Cultured Fetal-Bovine-Serum/FBS (Turkey)

Source: Biftek.co

Founded: 2018

Founders: Kerem Erikci & Can Akcali

Headquarters: Ankara, Turkey

Mission: Biftek.co is a startup producing cultivated medium that can replace fetal-bovine-serum (FBS) in the production of cell-based meats. Using its novel culture supplement formulation to grow muscle stem cells, its solution is 80% to 90% less expensive, which can help food techs lower the cost of producing cultivated proteins. 

12. Yoconut: Plant-Based Yoghurt (California)

Source: Yoconut

Founded: 2016

Founder: Bonnie Lau

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, U.S. 

Mission: Yoconut is a plant-based dairy brand creating delicious, healthy and allergy-friendly coconut-based yoghurts that contain live cultures and no added sugar. Currently, the brand has five vegan coconut yoghurt products in various flavours, and is available online as well as in a number of stores across California. 


Lead image courtesy of Veef / Fenn Foods.

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