Investments & Finance

Enifer Receives €12M EU Grant for “First-of-its-Kind” Mycoprotein Facility in Finland

Finnish biotech startup Enifer announces that it has received a grant worth over €12 million from the European Union’s NextGenerationEU programme, to construct its first commercial-scale mycoprotein facility in the Uusimaa region (the exact location has not been revealed).

“This plant will be a critical stepping stone to scaling the production of PEKILO® as a truly universal protein source”

Enifer has developed a mycoprotein ingredient called PEKILO using fungal fermentation, industrial byproducts, and waste streams. The plant’s total construction cost is €30 million and is set to be completed by the end of 2025, with production starting in 2026.

Once operational, the biotech claims that the mycoprotein factory, the first-of-its-kind, will be ready to produce three million kilograms of PEKILO per year — equivalent to the protein yield of 30,000 cows while emitting at least 20 times fewer carbon emissions.

“This plant will be a critical stepping stone to scaling the production of PEKILO® as a truly universal protein source – which we aim to commercialize globally across different applications,” shares Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of Enifer. 

Enifer's mycoprotein ingredient
© Iiro Muttilainen

Another source of protein

PEKILO is a 70% protein and fiber-rich powder with a neutral taste and color that can be used similarly to plant proteins in multiple food applications. It is considered a novel ingredient, as such the firm is seeking regulatory approval in the EU for 2024.

In April 2023, Enifer raised €11 million to scale the production of its upcycled protein. To date, the company has partners in the feed and food industries, including the Finnish dairy company Valio, which has been researching the potential of alternative proteins.

The mycoprotein specialist explains that its fermentation process is based on an original technology created by Finnish forest industry engineers in the 1970s to transform byproducts into sustainable feed proteins. Enifer’s achievement has been redesigning the original fermentation process to produce a food-grade ingredient. 

Meat balls made with Enifer's mycoprotein
© Iiro Muttilainen

Mycoprotein for new foods

Amidst a planet grappling with an increasing population and finite resources, numerous companies are repurposing industrial byproducts like sesame, spent brewer’s yeast, sunflower oil, barley, oats, and forest industry side streams to create top-notch plant-based ingredients and food products. Another Finnish company producing sustainable ingredients is Solar Foods, which recently raised €8 million for its air proteins.

“A key objective for the original developers of PEKILO® was to take this amazing source of protein to food applications. It is an absolute privilege for Enifer to be able to finally complete that mission, more than 50 years on,” adds Ellilä.

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