Interviews

NUTRUMAMI: “We Want to Enable a New Wave of Plant-Centric Foods by Unlocking Plant Proteins”

Denmark’s NUTRUMAMI, led by fine-dining chef Frederik Jensen, is working on the development of a plant protein powder that replaces nutrients from animal meat, pioneering a new category of “multi-functional plant proteins” for a new generation of plant-centric foods.

Using a unique cross-fermentation process, NUTRUMAMI aims to enhance the taste, texture, and nutrition of plant proteins. With plans to expand its team for market launch, NUTRUMAMI seeks to create clean, nutritious, plant-centric foods that offer a complete nutritional profile and reduce reliance on animal-derived nutrients.

NUTRUMAMI closed a €450K pre-seed funding round this May, to enable the startup to carry out its mission “to unlock plant proteins to transform the quality of plant-centric foods in terms of taste, texture, and nutrition while being clean and wholesome to enable a true dietary shift.”

It’s all very intriguing, so we were keen to speak with Jensen to learn more.

Can you share more about the journey and inspiration behind founding NUTRUMAMI?
I have spent more than a decade in FMCG F&B product innovation, and creating better-for-you or plant-centric foods is incredibly challenging in terms of getting the quality in taste and experience we expect, and I think that is mainly due to our input and the ingredients available.

“…there must be a way to create a more holistic approach that creates positive impacts across the spectrum”

In general terms, industrial ingredients are highly segmented; you go to protein companies for protein, texture companies for texturates, flavor houses for flavors, etc. Each ingredient serves primarily one role, and then as a developer, you have to try to force it all together, fixing texture, masking flavor, etc., and it just doesn’t get to the level or as a simple label we all aspire to.

So our idea is that there must be a way to create a more holistic approach that creates positive impacts across the spectrum and helps realize a much better foundation of food to then further enhance.

© NUTRIMAMI

Could you elaborate on the “unique cross-fermentation process” and how it differentiates NUTRUMAMI from other plant protein developers?
In many ways, we philosophically try to embrace more complex fermentation settings to create benefits across taste, texture, and nutrition. Fermentation traditionally was, of course, wild, and a myriad of microorganisms took part in creating some amazing foods, but in general, the industrialization of fermentation and bio-processes has taken a keen eye to simplify, for example, single strains/microorganisms, to gain one specific effect and ensure consistency and safety at scale.

However, we think this simplification leaves out the possibility of synergistic effects that can occur in microbial interactions. Therefore, our approach is cross-fermentation utilizing bacteria, yeast, and filamentous fungi via multiple fermentation stages, including both solid and submerged.

What specific benefits does your patented process offer in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional profile compared to traditional plant proteins?
For now, we choose not to fully disclose until we are in the market. But it’s about off-flavor elimination and the unique sensory profile of umami and kokumi, paired with great texture attributes for integration and enhanced micro-nutrition profile.

What are the main challenges you’ve faced in developing multi-functional plant proteins, and how have you overcome them?
We are doing this clean label, and without the use of processing aids, paired with all the interactions that can occur, countless tests have been required to get to a process and conditions suitable for our targets and food safety.

NUTRUMAMI founder Frederik with Chuchu
Image courtesy of NUTRUMAMI

Can you provide insights into the types of products or food applications you envision for NUTRUMAMI’s plant protein powders?
This product is a savory product for savory application and the intended categories we have tested with fantastic results are RTE/RTC meals, meat alternatives, plant-forward solid foods as well as condiments (the last one was a surprise to us).

How do you plan to allocate the €450K pre-seed funding to support your company’s growth and market entry?
The primary is building the team. Chuchu Huang has joined full-time and PhD in microbiology and fermentation (ex. Mycorena & Novo) and Nabila Rodríguez Valerón PhD Gastro Science (ex BCC, DTU Biosustain, Harvard Science & Cooking & Alchemist). So, we now have an exceptional R&D team. Furthermore, we have to conduct full scale-up tests and prepare for market launch, and we are actively building our sales pipeline with the first strategic partners.

What regulatory challenges do you foresee as you prepare to bring your products to market, and how are you addressing them?
We have worked with a highly experienced outside consultant from early on and continue to do so to be fully ready.

What milestones or goals are you aiming to achieve in the next 12-18 months?
Team expansion, product commercial readiness, and sales pipeline. Thereafter, we will look to launch and prove our value proposition.

NUTRUMAMI powder
© NUTRUMAMI

When can we expect NUTRUMAMI’s products to hit the market, and what distribution channels are you targeting?
In the first half of 2025: we are purely B2B, so channels depend on the first partners we launch with.

How do you see consumer preferences evolving in the plant-based protein space, and how is NUTRUMAMI positioned to meet these trends?
Yes! Key question and topic. The general consumer preferences are straightforward and well-documented (amazing taste, low price, clean label, etc.) However, a key aspect with less direct consumer data and insights is the type of food and positioning required to drive more diet changes.

The “plant-based” sector has clearly seen some setbacks/slowed growth for many reasons. What seems to be an area of challenge is general product disconnects and positioning balancing around vegan, plant-based, or simply just something not made with meat.

Ultimately, what I believe will happen next is a new wave of plant-centric type food that is not necessarily a 1-1 product replacement but instead, a thing in its own right by incorporating new differentiating dimensions, like plant-centric product forms or unique nutrition or texture qualities while being clean label. We want to enable this new wave of plant-centric foods by unlocking plant proteins to realize new product forms and qualities.

Stay tuned for further information to be revealed at nutrumami.com




>> Click here to go to Cultivated X where you will see a familiar layout and a focus solely on content regarding cellular agriculture, including fermentation-enabled products, and with more granular categories.

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