The alternative protein industry is booming, and Spain is no exception to the trend. The country is home to a growing number of startups who are innovating in a meat-heavy food system. From plant-based chorizo to fermenting mycelium meats, meet these Spanish food techs that are going to change the way we eat.
Novameat is transforming food using 3D printing technology. Based in Barcelona, the startup has already created prototypes of whole cut analogues using its tech. It has created a vegan steak as well as cell-based meat. The latter has been described as the “world’s biggest” prototype to date, and combines both plant-based scaffolding with animal cells grown in a lab.
2. Libre Foods
Also based in Barcelona is Libre Foods. It’s one of the first European food techs to use fermentation technology. Currently in R&D, Libre is using filamentous fungi and fermenting it into fibrous whole cuts of meat. According to the company, its process is incredibly sustainable—it uses few resources, has a low carbon footprint, and leaves behind little waste. First up is steak, but it plans on making everything from poultry to seafood.
Heura almost needs no introduction. Its become not just Spain’s best-known vegan brand, but one of the leading names in Europe and across the globe. Since launching its vegan chicken to huge fanfare back in 2017, Heura has developed plant-based burgers and meatballs too, and is now sold in 16 countries. It recently bagged €16 million in a new funding round and plan on using it to expand its range with vegan pork.
4. Grin Grin
Grin Grin is another vegan startup in Spain, and its range spans far and wide. Aside from making meat alternatives, the company has developed plant-based ice cream, seafood, condiments, and cheese, just to name a few. Even ready meals like pizza topped with dairy-free mozzarella.
5. Biotech Foods
Cell-based player Biotech Foods is cultivating real animal meat, without the need for slaughter. Based in the mountainous Basque County, the startup uses cellular agriculture to grow meat directly from animal cells, without GMOs or animal-based serum. And it was recently tapped to lead a Spanish government-backed project dedicated to cultivating healthier and sustainable proteins for the country.
6. Rollito Vegano
Founded by two activists, Rollito Vegano isn’t making vegan burgers or nuggets. Instead, it’s making alternatives for Spain’s most beloved meat: jamón. Within months of setting up shop last year, the brand already boasts a huge following and its dry-cured vegan ham has been flying off the shelves. Instead of pork, Rollito Vegano creates its iberico from wheat gluten, rice flour, coconut oil, and beetroot.
7. Flax & Kale
Spanish restaurant and healthy food brand Flax & Kale recently entered the alternative protein space. And it decided to go big with a huge range of 14 plant-based meat products and 31 dairy-free cheese substitutes. Some of these have long featured on its menus, such as its famous vegan gouda or croquettes and meatballs. Soon it’ll all be available for people to cook at home via its direct-to-consumer website.
Lead image courtesy of Rollito Vegano.