The Alt-Protein Frontier: A Conversation About Fats

Learning from the experts just got easier!

In case you missed out on our alt-fat webinar or blogpost, we've got you covered with a summary of the valuable insights shared by Michelle Lee, the CTO and Co-Founder of Lypid, Tomas Turner, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cultivated Biosciences, and George Zheleznyi, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cultimate.

Alt-protein industry goals have expanded beyond satisfying our hunger with animal-free foods, and are now exploring alternative fats as a way to tantalize our taste buds. Alongside numerous other companies, these three pioneers are dedicated to ensuring that the next generation of alternative proteins is, above all, incredibly delicious.

Read on for key insights from each innovator including:

  • Why they decided to approach alt-fat from this particular technology angle
  • How they balance collaboration with protecting intellectual property in a rapidly changing market
  • How they ensure the sustainability of their business models

Why focus on this technology?

Each of you is tackling the same problem (bringing better alt-fats to the market) but approaching them from different directions. What is the value proposition of each approach to alternative fats?

"Authentic taste for an authentic experience"
George Zheleznyi
CEO and Co-Founder Cultimate

Cultimate uses cell cultivation to make food that has the same flavor and texture as conventional meat, achieved by cultivating intramuscular fat. The company wants to do more than swap out unsustainable oils in plant-based meats; it wants to provide authentic alternatives.

For Tomas Turner, CEO and Co-Founder of Cultivated Biosciences (fermentation) it’s, “Customization and scalability.”

Cultivated Bioscience’s decision to pursue biomass fermentation was based on several factors. Biomass fermentation offers the ability to customize products while still retaining a high potential for scalability. It also carries a lower level of engineering risk, as there is no need to develop many new technologies.

Michelle Lee, CTO, and Co-Founder Lypid (plant-based) states “Scale and Affordability” as a value proposition.

Lypid has opted for a plant-based approach to address the fat challenge because they recognize the importance of scale and affordability in convincing more individuals to make the switch. Additionally, because the ingredients used in their Phytofat product are already used in food products, they do not have to apply for any regulatory approval.

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Lypid- Fast Facts:
Lipid has developed a novel microencapsulation technology that can transform any liquid oil into a solid or semi-solid form that mimics animal fat tissue.
This plant-based fat, called Phytofat, can withstand high cooking temperatures and retains flavor, binding well with alternative proteins.
Phytofat has 97% less saturated fat than coconut oil and is available in creamy, chunk, and crumble form factors.
The versatility of phytofat extends beyond the alternative protein industry and can be used to replace butter, lard, and tallow in the baking industry, and even in confectionery sectors.

Balancing Collaboration and IP

How do you balance the need for collaboration with protecting your company's unique contributions to the industry and protecting your IP?

"Carefully plan collaborations to ensure a win-win scenario"
Tomas Turner
CEO and Co-Founder Cultivated Biosciences

Tomas shared that balancing collaboration and competition poses a challenge, but careful planning of collaborations can lead to win-win opportunities. By sharing valuable information without revealing proprietary technology, companies can work together for the greater good without compromising their competitive advantage.

According to George Zheleznyi, it's important to "Collaborate while keeping core IP secure."

George shared that collaboration is a fundamental aspect of Cultimate’s strategy and that they work closely with other companies to achieve mutual success. However, they remain mindful of investor interests and keep core technology secure. Cultimate can collaborate with other companies using their unique value proposition (cultivated and customisable lipids as an ingredient source) while avoiding the need to raise large amounts of capital and build extensive factories (and therefore risk investor money).

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Cultimate - Fast Facts:
The team at Cultimate is producing porcine and bovine animal fat cells as an ingredient for alt-protein companies.
The goal is to create hybrid meat, which is a combination of plant-based proteins and cultivated fat.
This hybrid meat will be targeted toward meat eaters who may be hesitant to adopt plant-based meat products.
The impact of this product is significant. One ton of fat (used in hybrid meat) can substitute up to ten tons of meat in the food chain.
Cultimate's industrial-scale production can save more than 8 million greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to 1% of the whole GHG saving potential generated by the alt-proteins industry by 2030.
Cultimate is also addressing a consumer demand for better-tasting meat alternatives. 64% of people who try plant-based meat prefer animal meat, so there is a need for products that replicate the taste and texture of meat.

“Diversifying our expertise and providing critical value-add to other companies,” Michelle said.

Michelle shared that Lypid’s expertise allows collaborations for growth and addressing diverse needs. Lypid focuses heavily on becoming an expert in the field, allowing them to collaborate with other businesses to achieve company growth and serve the diverse needs of other companies. They can serve as an ingredient supplier for a variety of markets while also developing new sectors, such as whole-cut plant-based meat.

What measures are taken to ensure sustainability?

What measures are you taking to minimize your carbon footprint in your production process (aside from the already inherent reduction of carbon footprint your produce offers compared to its conventional counterpart)?

George notes, “Recycling lab equipment and cultured media” is one of the key ways to minimize carbon footprint in their production process.

George acknowledged the importance of the question raised regarding their environmental impact. While developing their greenhouse gas-reducing product, Cultimate recognizes the need to address their lab practices involving plastics and cultured media. They are actively exploring solutions like reusable products and media recycling to become more climate-friendly.

Thomas explained, "Limiting air travel and implementing sustainable practices across the production process" are just some of the steps they take to achieve this goal.

Tomas highlighted their company's commitment to sustainability, opting for train travel when feasible and working on reducing water usage, and implementing efficient cleaning methods. However, he emphasized that the ultimate goal is bringing the product to market, as it significantly reduces CO2 emissions regardless of production methods.

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Cultivated Biosciences - Fast Facts:
The team at Cultivated Biosciences is using a patented process to create patented ingredients powered by fermentation.
The result is an ingredient that is color and flavor-neutral, suitable for various categories in dairy and beyond.
They grow GMO-free yeast through binary fermentation, generating fats, and then apply a unique extraction process to get their patented creamy texture.
Lifecycle assessment shows 90% less CO2 emissions than traditional dairy products. They are also working to reach price parity so that people will buy their product, offering a clean label ingredient that can shorten ingredient lists for plant-based producers.
“Bringing the product to market and ensuring sustainable production”
Michelle Lee
CTO and Co-Founder, Lypid

Michelle highlighted the significance of bringing products to market quickly, which has been the primary focus of Lypid since its inception. The company follows a policy of continuously reducing processing methods to minimize scale-up requirements and contribute to sustainability through more efficient and streamlined manufacturing processes.

Hungry for more? To check out more companies producing alternative fats, check out Protein Directory.

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