Shiru, an AI-powered discovery and development company for novel ingredients, has launched its first commercial product. OleoPro is a novel, sustainable plant protein-based fat ingredient for use in a range of alternative protein food products.
Shiru says the new ingredient delivers a 90 percent reduction in saturated fat while enhancing technical performance in alternative meats compared to commonly used structured fats. OleoPro is self-standing, holding its shape at room temperature, and delivers a “juicy, fatty mouthfeel” in plant-based meat applications, the company says.
The new fat is patent-pending and comes from Shiru’s proprietary technology platform, Flourish, which leverages AI to generate unique plant protein insights.
“At Shiru, we think consumers shouldn’t have to compromise on taste or texture to make sustainable, nutritious food choices, and we know novel ingredients are crucial to unlocking the next generation of plant-based foods,” Dr. Jasmin Hume, Shiru’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“Oils commonly used in plant-based meats today like palm and coconut are disastrous for the environment and aren’t great from a health perspective either,” she said. “OleoPro is a categorical upgrade, bringing all the juiciness and fattiness we expect from conventional meats to plant-based, but with a much improved nutritional profile and without tearing down the rainforest.”
Industry feedback has already been favorable, Shiru says with cultivated meat company Upside Foods praising the innovation. “Our testing revealed OleoPro to be a promising fat solution for alt meats, demonstrating superior performance in approximating beef fat compared to a range of plant-based fat systems in the market,” said Daniel Davila, Senior Food Scientist at Upside.
The new fat made its debut at San Francisco’s Future Food-Tech conference as part of a plant-based crispy chik’n karaage developed by Nourish Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Griffith Foods. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Shiru on the launch of their first ingredient, OleoPro,” said Simon Burton, managing director of Nourish Ventures. He called OleoPro “a real game-changer” and says it holds the potential to impact the alternative protein industry.
Shiru’s pursuit of alternative fats puts it in good company. A number of startups are working on supplanting animal fats and unsustainable plant fats such as palm oil.
Last October, Nourish Ingredients closed a $28.6 million Series A for its microbial fermentation fats. More Lypid’s proprietary vegan PhytoFat is already being served in Asia, and Zero Acre Farms emerged from stealth mode last August to bring its cultured oil to market.
Earlier this month, meat giant Cargill announced a partnership with Cubiq Foods to scale plant-based fat.
While Shiru’s initial development has focused on plant-based meat applications across multiple formats, it says it’s equally as important to explore additional applications, including OleoPro’s use in plant-based dairy and personal care products. Shiru is currently sampling OleoPro with potential launch partners and says commercial production will begin later this year.