Yali Bio has announced a $3.9 million seed round from new and existing investors. The Californian food tech makes food ingredients from renewable feedstocks and is initially focusing on creating designer fats for the plant-based meat and dairy industry.
With an overreliance on unhealthy, unpalatable, or unsustainable oil prevailing throughout the food industry, Yali Bio is building a platform to create tailor-made fats that will enhance the flavors and functionality of plant-based alt meats. The fresh seed round funding brings Yali Bio’s total funding to $5M, with the financing to be used for expansion of R&D and operations, as well as product and business development.
Yali Bio offers a precision fermentation cultured solution by developing proprietary technology, enabling it to develop a pipeline of plant-based fats that it claims will emulate animal fats. Although there are currently other companies in the space using cell cultivation techniques for fat, Yali Bio is using plant-based ingredients, therefore avoiding regulatory approval complications and offering a faster-to-market strategy.
Fat has long been identified as the key ingredient in creating more realistic alt meats which would increase appeal among the wider population. With the production of tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil being major causes of deforestation and habitat destruction, as well as inadequate taste profiles, there is something of a race to produce a winning high quality and sustainable fat.
Companies like Mission Barns and MeaTech have been successful in pursuing the aforementioned cell cultivated route, whereas Swedish company Mycorena has developed a fungi-based solution. Zero Acre Farms is also creating healthy oils and fats made by fermentation, while Thai food giant CP Foods recently joined forces with US vegan fat startup Lypid to develop vegan fat. French plant-based fat pioneer La Vie has also recently entered the retail market with its patented vegan bacon.
“High-quality fats are currently a major weak point when developing plant-based analogs for animal proteins. We are excited to invest into Yali Bio to improve this crucial component of plant-based products with the goal of enhancing the consumer experience while reducing the impacts of conventional animal husbandry,” stated Chuck Templeton, Managing Partner at S2G Ventures, who participated in the funding.