Nourish Ingredients Closes USD$28.6 Million Series A for Microbial Fermentation Fats
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With backing led by Hong Kong-based billionaire Li Ka Shing’s VC Horizon Ventures, Australian food tech startup, Nourish Ingredients, has raised more than AUD$45 million (USD$28.6 million) in a Series A.
The microbial fermentation-focused Nourish also received funding from Main Sequence Ventures and Hostplus to further its development of fats and oils for the alternative protein sector. The raise is an important milestone, says CEO James Petrie, that will help the company to fast-track and scale production and product development” of its animal-free fats. The new funding follows a $14 million Seed round last year.
Nourish is working to scale its production in partnership with several universities and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), an Australian Government agency responsible for scientific research. Nourish founders Dr. James Petrie and Dr Ben Leita are both former CSIRO scientists.
The company is differentiating itself from the sea of alternative meat producers by focusing on fats made with precision fermentation. That decision, according to the founders, came about as certain animal-based fats can’t be replicated with plants. To recreate the taste and performance of these fats, Nourish turned to microbes in a technique similar to how Perfect Day produces its animal-free dairy-identical whey.
Fat is a key component to recreating animal products. Category leaders including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have relied on coconut oil.
“The first generation of alternative proteins made waves, mostly with vegans and vegetarians,” Petrie said in a statement.
“By overlooking fats, the market has missed the most essential element to the taste experience. That’s where Nourish comes in. We’re not just mimicking meat — we’re creating animal ingredients but from an animal-free source.”
Petrie says feedback from the company’s alt-protein food partners has been very positive. “Nourish’s products have a transformative impact on their products — they haven’t tasted anything like it before. Our main challenge is to scale fast enough to meet their expectations but we are also deeply invested in pushing the boundaries of alt-protein taste and experience into new spaces,” Petrie said.
Following the company’s Seed round last year, Petrie told TechCrunch that the company exists to help improve the growing roster of meat alternatives. Until they do improve, you really cannot see market ignition,” he said. “You’re reaching through, not only to the vegans and vegetarians, but also reaching through to the carnivores and getting them to keep coming back to the foods. That’s our mission.”
Nourish is anticipating 2023 launches for its fat in alternative protein products in Australia and other parts of the world.
“We are still doing R&D and have a pipeline of products,” he said. “We also need to accelerate the conversion of our MVP to the point of which we have realistic quantities that people can actually do something meaningful with.”
Lead image courtesy Nourish.