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Barcelona-based Heura has announced a new approach to plant-based food production. Good Rebel Tech (G.R.T.) is a new platform created to develop what the company describes as sustainable micro and macronutrient-rich foods in order to reduce food waste and improve consumer benefits from plant-based meats. The crux of the tech relies on using more whole plant sources, instead of simply extracting viable proteins from within them.
Often described as Europe’s fastest-growing plant-based meat company, Heura was founded on the principles of making current food systems obsolete and taking animals out of the supply chain entirely. Their flagship plant-based chicken product, which is made with olive oil in a nod to their Mediterranean heritage, is now sold in over 20 countries.
Manufacturing of any kind is a climate problem
Heura says G.R.T. is the answer is looking to tackle food waste-related greenhouse gas emissions with its low-energy tech platform.
“Various industries ranging from energy to transportation have undergone critical technological transitions to increase sustainability, and now it’s the food industry’s turn,” Marc Coloma, CEO and Heura co-founder said in a statement. “We’ve created Good Rebel Tech to pave the way for animal-meat successors that are derived directly from nature using low carbon-footprint technologies. Our aim is to leverage technology to provide holistic solutions that are more sustainable and nutritious than ever before.”
Food accounts for 26 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Of this, supply chains, including manufacturing, are responsible for 18 percent, and one-quarter of food production emissions are tied to food waste. Reducing the carbon footprint of the food production system has been highlighted as a key priority in the fight against the climate crisis.
What G.R.T. means for plant-based meat manufacturing
Heura has found a way to extrapolate maximum potential from plant sources, by focusing on currently non-utilised parts. This means that instead of taking a popular plant source and using just key proteins, then discarding the rest, the company seeks to use as much of the original form as possible, in a bid to minimise processing, maximise healthy consumer benefits and generate less waste. All chemical processing can be avoided and all micronutrients present in a plant source can be transferred to a finished meat-alternative product.
“By leveraging discoveries in cellular plant physiology, colloids and biopolymer science combined with computational fluid dynamics and engineering techniques, we’ve been able to create a technological platform that rewrites current plant-based food processing rules, and leads to a new sustainable manufacturing ecosystems,” Isabel Fernández, Heura director of science and technology said in a statement.
“We are engaged in cutting-edge research in collaboration with world-leading scientific experts to address the greatest technological challenges the plant-based industry is facing today.”
The G.R.T. announcement comes hot on the heels of Heura’s recent crowdfunding success. The startup smashed its initial target of €1 million, reeling in €4 million in support in under 12 hours, with funding likely earmarked to support the numerous patents that Heura plans to file this year. The company also has revealed that it plans to launch 10 new products by the end of 2022.
Reducing food waste
LA-based PurePlus takes ‘wonky’ and soon-to-spoil fresh fruits and vegetables and turns them into a nutrient-dense powder that is added to plant-based sweets. They are touted as being a sustainable version of Starburst, with each packet clocking up one portion of recommended produce servings a day.
All photos by Heura.