Delaware startup Superbrewed Food is gearing up to launch a line of animal-free dairy products made with its proprietary microbe-based protein, which was inspired by the gut microbiome of impressively strong herbivores like gorillas and elephants. Having just come out of stealth mode months ago, Superbrewed is planning to debut its nutritious dairy-free milk, cheese and protein powder in the second half of 2021.
Superbrewed started when founder Dr. Bryan Tracy began wondering why some of the largest and strongest animals on the planet were herbivores. Horses who spring at a maximum of 55 miles per hour, silverback gorillas with an average strength of over 20 adult humans combined, and the world’s biggest mammal, elephants, all subsist on plant-based diets.
Tracy found out the answer was in the guts of these impressive herbivores, whose microbiome, living deep inside their digestive system, is “perfectly tuned” to anaerobically ferment plant fibres into energy and complete proteins, allowing these animals to thrive.
Inspired by the microbiome of herbivores – which Superbrewed describes as the “envy of vegans” – the research team at the Newcastle, Delaware startup began using anaerobic fermentation technology to search for the microbe that could help create their ultimate protein ingredient that offers “unprecedented combinations of nutrition and affordability”.
The company, previously known as White Dog Labs, only came out of stealth mode in March to introduce their 85% complete microbe-based protein fermented from corn and separated solvent-free, which they claim is the highest concentration of protein within a single microbe ever found. Compared to whey protein, Superbrewed’s protein has an even greater concentration of branched chain amino acids.
[It] can create a variety of animal-free foods that offer unprecedented combinations of nutrition and affordability.Superbrewed Food
It’s also packed with essential nutrients and minerals, and even vitamin B12, which those on a plant-based diet typically require supplementation for. According to Superbrewed, just one teaspoon of their protein delivers over 20% of daily B12 requirements.
In addition, Superbrewed’s neutral-tasting microbe protein is free from all the main allergens like soy and gluten, is non-GMO, and can be incorporated to create animal-free alternatives like cheese and yoghurt, thanks to its “remarkable versatility”.
Superbrewed and its technology is part of the rising sector of fermentation within the alternative protein industry, often described as the “third pillar” next to plant-based and cell-based alternatives.
Some of the well-known players within the space include California’s Perfect Day, who uses precision fermentation to create real dairy proteins without any cows and Chicago-based fungi protein maker Nature’s Fynd, who has won support from the likes of Bill Gates and Jack Ma.
Change Foods is another startup leveraging fermentation technology to produce animal-free proteins and formulating them into cheese and yoghurt. Based between the U.S. and Australia, the startup recently bagged US$875,000 in seed funding and is now preparing to launch its initial animal-free cheese prototypes.
Superbrewed isn’t without their own backers, including Israel-based father-and-son impact investors at Somekh Family Office, and is currently fuelled by US$45 million in financing. On its advisory board are a number of veterans in the food industry, including former Cargill CTO Chris Mallet, the inventor of soymilk brand Silk, Jonathan Gordon, and Unilever USA executive chef Einav Gefen.
We’re very bullish on what our great ingredient can deliver and the products that we’ve been developing in our own hand.Dr. Bryan Tracy, Founder & CEO, Superbrewed Food
Having already acquired a high-capacity production facility in Little Falls, Minnesota which is set to boast a capacity to load the equivalent of 500 million pizzas, Superbrewed says they are already “well-positioned to be a leader in the category” of fermentation proteins and will soon be launching a whole line-up of dairy alternatives in the second half of 2021.
Speaking to FoodDive, Tracy revealed that the company is now pending regulatory approval from the FDA, and is finalising its designs, packaging and formulation for its first products – dairy-free milk, cheese and a protein powder.
“We’re very bullish on what our great ingredient can deliver and the products that we’ve been developing in our own hand,” said Tracy. “Effectively, we’ve taken good gut health, and we feed it directly to you.”
He added that a core part of the startup’s commercialisation strategy will be to collaborate with other brands to incorporate their microbe protein in everything from animal-free cold cut meats to burger patties and yoghurt.
“Now’s the time for us to not just find investment, but also partnerships to get ourselves to market faster for the benefit of everyone involved.”
Lead image courtesy of Superbrewed Food.