Food ingredientsa food technology company that makes animal-free fats using synthetic biology has secured $28.6 million in Series A funding led by Horizons Ventures and supported by Main Sequence Ventures and Hostplus.
We previously profiled the Australian company in 2021 when it raised $11 million. It is one of the few companies in the food tech sector focused on developing the fats and oils that make alternative proteins smell, taste and cook better than traditional meats.
Creating that flavor parity is one of the ongoing challenges for alternative protein makers, James Petrie, co-founder and CEO at Nourish Ingredients, told australiabusinessblog.com.
“I think a lot of heat has gone out of business, which is pretty much the main reason we exist, because we believe these foods can improve,” he said. “Until they improve, you really don’t see a market ignite. You don’t just reach out to the vegans and vegetarians, but also the carnivores and make sure they keep coming back to the food. That’s our mission.”
It was that need to reach a wide variety of customers that helped Nourish the most. People began to realize that they were “trying to fit a square pin into a round hole with these ingredients,” he explained. Instead, the company developed proprietary precision fermentation strains that can produce fat molecules on a large scale to give alternative proteins that have animal-meat taste, smell and taste, Petrie added.
Including the new capital injection, Nourish has raised a total of about $40 million and raised the valuation, though Petrie declined to disclose the actual value. The CEO said the company wanted to reach a number of internal milestones before seeking new funding, including reaching the point where it could translate science into product validation.
The company has since put its product into foods and is getting the cooking results it has been looking for. Now it works at scale. Petrie plans to use the new funds to continue that manufacturing and additional product development.
Those next steps in R&D and scaling up include forming alliances with universities, including the University of California, in Riverside; Australia’s National Science Agency, CSIRO; University of Nottingham, UK; and Deakin University. In addition, the company is working with the University of Queensland to accelerate next-generation food production in Australia.
Petrie expects its first fat product to be included in alternative protein product lines and specialty foods in 2023.
“We are still doing R&D and have a pipeline of products,” he added. “We also need to accelerate the conversion of our MVP so that we have realistic amounts that people can actually do something meaningful with.”