The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced it will invest NIS50 million (approximately $14 million) in a fermentation facility offering research, development, and production services to local and foreign food tech companies.
Last January, the IIA announced plans to build a fermentation plant to support and strengthen the country’s alt protein ecosystem, considered a national priority, and called for proposals. Following an extensive evaluation, IIA selected the Israeli fermentation company YDLabs to lead the facility’s construction.
“We are pleased to confirm the selection of YDLabs and look forward to seeing the Israeli ecosystem benefit from infrastructure and services provided for scaling production to enable economic feasibility assessment, regulatory preparedness, and more,” said Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority.
Fermentation facility for Israel
YDLabs will establish the new plant and hire specialized professionals and staff. Founded in 2022 by Ariel Blumovich, YDLabs, and its CTO, Dr. Moti Rebhun (one of Israel’s renowned fermentation experts and CEO of the Israeli Fermentation Society), provide fermentation process development and optimization services for food tech companies.
The IIA facility will offer fermentation services — ranging from 10 to 20,000 liters — for companies that need to move from the development stage to production. Additionally, the plant will allow batch testings, R&D, conduct economic feasibility experiments, consumer testing, and assistance in food regulations to advance and launch alt protein products.
“Yesterday we received great news from the Israel Innovation Authority — we were selected to establish the fermentation facilities for the Israeli food tech industry, with $14M investment. That is the greatest proof for the necessity of YDLabs to the Israeli foodtech industry, and a notch on our belt for what our team had built so far,” shared YDLabs on LinkedIn.
Food tech a priority
Precision fermentation, sometimes called synthetic biology, uses microorganisms through a fermentation bioprocess to make proteins, food coloring, animal-like fats, oils, food production enzymes, flavor, aroma compounds, and more. Alt proteins such as plant-based meat and dairy, animal-free dairy, or cultivated meat can benefit from these ingredients.
Recently, a Global Innovation Needs Assessment (GINA) report highlighted the vital importance of investing in sustainable protein, such as plant-based and cultivated meat, to reduce methane emissions and grow the world economy drastically.
“Israel has identified the foodtech field as one of the areas to prioritize. Currently, due to the lack of infrastructure and workforce, many ventures turn to service providers abroad, which leads to early knowledge leakage and advancements in regulatory frameworks tailored for other countries. With this initiative, we aim to change that as soon as possible,” Bin added.