Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Food Brewer Secures Over CHF 5M for Cell Cultured Cacao & Coffee

Food Brewer AG, a biotech startup leveraging plant cell culture headquartered in Campus Horgen, Zurich, Switzerland, has raised over CHF 5 million in a seed round. 

Various investors, including family offices from Switzerland and the USA, the Zürcher Kantonalbank, and chocolate manufacturer Max Felchlin AGbacked the startup’s biotechnological approach to making alternatives to cocoa, coffee, and sustainable fats. 

With the new funds, Food Brewer will invest in R&D for its cell lines, expand to a production facility, and develop its business model, reported Startupticker.

Seeds, nuts and coffee beans
© Food Brewer

The challenges of agriculture

Founded in 2021 by Yannick Senn, Géraldine Senn, Christian Schaub, Corinne John, Stefan Bingisser, and Klaus Kienle, the startup focuses on developing a platform for large-scale production of key commodities harnessing the potential of plant cell culture.

By utilizing new food production methods, the startup aims to address issues related to traditional agriculture, including land scarcity, climate challenges, geographic limitations, and ethical concerns.

The ongoing effects of global warming on temperature-sensitive tropical crops are reducing their cultivation area, leading to decreased production levels and price instability. In addition, deforestation and child labor represent major challenges for both sectors.

Cell-cultured cacao and coffee

To produce its innovative ingredients, Food Brewer has successfully created cell lines from plant samples to grow coffee and cocoa in bioreactors under controlled environmental conditions. This meticulous process ensures optimal cell replication and sustenance. Once the cells reach the desired biomass, they are collected, dried, and roasted.

Cell-based cacao powder
© Food Brewer

In a strategic move to drive long-term cost efficiency to achieve similar prices with current commodities, Food Brewer has partnered with fellow Zurich-based startup Fruitful AI to leverage advanced algorithms for tracking plant cell growth using controlled images.

Additionally, the startup has teamed up with the German machine builder Steinecker to incorporate its cutting-edge bioreactor technology into its platform.

Making novel ingredients a reality

As the regulatory landscape for cell-based foods involves novel food regulation, Food Brew must secure the necessary approvals from EU regulators to commercialize its products. 

According to Startupticker, strategic investor Felchlin has begun experimenting with Food Brew’s cocoa powder to produce innovative chocolates. At the same time, customers in the USA have shown interest in importing cacao for testing purposes.

“These funds will be destined towards the scaling of our cocoa and coffee processes to make the secure access to these delicious ingredients a reality,” the company shared on social media.

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