Cargill has partnered with Voyage Foods, a California-based food tech company that creates allergen and dairy-free spreads and cacao-free chocolates.

Courtesy of Cargill, image credit Noel Barnhurst

Sweets & Snacks

Cargill and Voyage Foods Partner to Upscale Confectionery Without Cocoa, Nuts, and Dairy

Cargill has announced a commercial partnership with Voyage Foods — a California-based food tech company that creates spreads and chocolates free from cocoa, nut, and dairy — to offer sustainable alternatives to popular sweet favorites. With demand for sustainable global confectionery products expected to rise, and as the cocoa crisis continues to deepen, Cargill will be the exclusive B2B global distributor for Voyage Foods, expanding its existing chocolate offerings with a new range of sustainable chocolate alternatives for the first time. The commercial partnership will also provide food manufacturers with allergen- and dairy-free nut flavor spreads for recipe formulation in the bakery, ice cream, and chocolate confectionery categories. Inge Demeyere, Managing Director, Bakery, Ice Cream and Chocolate Confectionery Europe at Cargill, shared, “This partnership is …


Cultivated meat startup Orbillion Bio has raised venture capital funding to develop further its predictive model or "scale-up algorithm" for cultivated meat.

© Orbillion Bio

Cultivated Meat

Orbillion Bio Secures Funds to Cultivate Beef at Scale With Innovative Algorithm

Cultivated meat startup Orbillion Bio has secured venture capital funding to develop further its predictive model or “scale-up algorithm” for cultivated meat and bring a product to the market “within a year’s time.” Specializing in cultivating heritage breed meats like Wagyu, elk, and lamb, Orbillion is currently focusing on creating a ground beef product that merges cultivated meat with plant-based ingredients to provide a “tasty, nutritious product at the price of conventionally produced meat,” Orbillion CEO Patricia Bubner, told Cultivated X. The Venture Collective led the funding round, with co-leadership from At One Ventures. YCombinator, Metaplanet, and other prominent global food investors backed the company’s cultivated meat algorithm. This capital brings the startup’s total raised funds to $15 million. The algorithm for cultivated meat Instead of solely …


A bowl with algae oil

© Checkerspot


Checkerspot and AAK to Produce Novel, Climate Change-Resistent Oils from Microalgae & Precision Fermentation

California’s Checkerspot and the Swedish company AAK have announced a partnership to develop, scale, and commercially produce novel algae oils for meat alternatives, plant-based food, and personal care products. Checkerspot makes renewable oils using microalgae and precision fermentation for materials and food, and AKK specializes in value-adding vegetable oils for food, confectionery, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. With this initiative, both companies aim to provide a sustainable alternative source of structuring fats and oils that can be manufactured at scale and are resistant to the impacts of climate change. Structuring fats and oils are used for products with healthier nutritional profiles, less fat, and better emulsion capabilities, including alt meat and bakery. Scott Franklin, co-founder & CSO of Checkerspot, shared: “Our team at Checkerspot is able to …


Oobli, a Sweet protein developer from California, formerly Joywell Foods, has received what it claims to be the FDA's first "No questions" letter for a brazzein protein made with precision fermentation.

© Oobli


Oobli Receives FDA No Questions Letter for Oubli Fruit Sweet Protein Made with Precision Fermention

Oobli, formerly Joywell Foods, a sweet protein developer from California, USA, announces that it has received what it claims to be the FDA’s first “No questions” letter for its brazzein protein made with precision fermentation. The US Food and Drug Administration letter confirms Oobli’s self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for Oubli Fruit Sweet Protein and supports its use as a food and beverage ingredient in the USA. Ali Wing, CEO of Oobli, shares, “The “No questions” letter from the FDA is a further testament to the strong potential that sweet proteins have to disrupt our global dependence on sugar and alternative sweeteners. The Oubli Fruit Sweet Protein can be safely used in various foods with support from the general scientific community and the …


© Califia Farms

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Califia Farms Launches Plant-Based Creamers in Lavender, Brown Sugar and Vanilla

Califia Farms, based in Bakersfield, California, announces the launch of plant-based creamers in three flavors: lavender, brown sugar, and vanilla. The creamers are USDA-certified and made with simple ingredients without gums or oils. The almond-based creamers, available in a 25.4-ounce refrigerated format, debuted at this week’s Natural Products Expo West Show in Anaheim, California. The creamers are the latest addition to the brand’s organic line, following Organic Almond Milk and Organic Oat Milk, which launched in January 2023. Most recently the company launched Califia Farms Complete, a plant-based milk designed to match the nutritional profile of dairy milk while containing 50% less sugar, just this week. The range will soon be expanded to include organic coconut milk and organic vanilla almond milk. Califia Farms was …


EatDifferently Dairy Campaign

© Eat Differently

Marketing & Media

Eat Differently Launches Huge Billboard Campaign Across LA Exposing Falsehoods Peddled by Dairy Industry

A new campaign by Eat Differently, a public service resource encouraging plant-based eating, is challenging long-held consumer beliefs about the dairy industry. Titled “Got My Mom’s Milk? I Didn’t,” the campaign seeks to expose the often glossed-over realities of dairy cows and their calves and foster a broader understanding of dairy production practices.  With over 20 billboards strategically placed in key locations around Los Angeles, including the highly trafficked 405 Freeway, the Hollywood and Highland intersection, and near the Los Angeles International Airport, the campaign is anticipated to have high visibility.  Lori Amos, founder of Scout 22, an advertising agency working with Eat Differently, articulated the campaign’s core message: “The messaging featured in this campaign negates the falsehoods that have been peddled by the dairy …


Umaro bacon in sandwich close up

© Umaro Foods

Investments & Acquisitions

Umaro Foods Raises $3.8M for Seaweed Bacon, is “Laser Focused on Undercutting Hormel and Smithfield on Cost” 

Berkeley California’s Umaro Foods, producer of bacon from the proprietary red protein, Umaro, announces a raise of $3.8 million following a reported sixfold growth in sales. With the financing — a combination of equity and grant funding — Umaro is set to launch its innovative, patent-holding product into retail and expand its seaweed platform technology platform. The equity funding round was led by AgFunder with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, Climate Capital Bio, Ponderosa Ventures, and early investor and NBA athlete Chris Paul. The company states that this Seed 2 equity funding round, along with a grant from the DOE’s ARPA-E program for the application of Umaro’s seaweed processing technology to new products, “not only validate Umaro Foods’ innovative approach but also secure its position …


Los Angeles

© Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

Politics & Law

Los Angeles County Implements Plant-Based Food Policy to Tackle Environmental and Health Concerns

Los Angeles County has enacted a new plant-based policy addressing environmental, public health, and animal welfare concerns. The legislation, initiated by supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda L. Solis, mandates a comprehensive shift towards plant-based food in the county’s food service provider contracts. Mercy For Animals worked closely with Horvath’s office to develop the policy, which encompasses Health Services, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works departments and includes updates to nutritional standards, recommendations for plant-based procurement, and tracking greenhouse gas emissions. Leah Garces, president at Mercy for Animals, announced the development on social media:  “We at MFA call for enactment and enforcement of animal protection laws and a shift to a plant-based food system. As more Americans choose plant-based food for health, environmental protection, and animal …


Sway has introduced TPSea, a biopolymer resin made from seaweed and plants to replace plastic pellets in single-use packaging manufacturing.

© SnackTime

Algae, Microalgae & Seaweed

Sway Launches Seaweed Pellets to Replace Single-Use Plastics at Scale, Following $5M Funding Round

California-based Sway, a startup creating biodegradable alternatives to plastic, has introduced Thermoplastic Seaweed (TPSea), a “breakthrough” biopolymer resin made from seaweed and plants to replace plastic pellets in single-use packaging manufacturing.  The launch follows a successful $5 million seed round led by Third Nature Investments. The Helm, Alante Capital, BAM Ventures, Superorganism, and other investors also backed Sway in this round. The funds will help Sway expand its product portfolio and fuel marketing initiatives targeted at the fashion, food, and home goods sectors to accelerate product adoption. “We believe everyday materials should help to replenish the planet from sea to soil. The launch of our thermoplastic seaweed materials, along with an influx of new capital targeted at scaling production, signifies tangible progress toward a more circular …


Vegan Women Summit

© Vegan Women Summit

Fairs & Events

The Vegan Women Summit Returns to Hollywood Showcasing Female Leadership in Vegan Business

The Vegan Women Summit (VWS) is returning for its 4th year, scheduled for May 9 and 10, 2024, at the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood. The summit is a global event that brings together women leaders in vegan business, featuring speakers, panels, and networking opportunities with potential partners, mentors, and investors. VWS has released an impressive roster of celebrity speakers for this year’s event, which includes actress Richa Moorjani, philanthropist Maggie Baird (mother of musician Billie Eilish), model and reality TV star Jayde Nicole and Heather Mills, a Paralympian and the owner of VBites. Mills is poised to share the inspiring journey of VBites, which she recently reacquired after the company entered administration at the end of last year. Joanne Molinaro, The Korean Vegan, and …


Fengru Lin, TurtleTree CEO and co-founder

Fengru Lin, TurtleTree CEO and co-founder © TurtleTree


TurtleTree Secures First-Ever Vegan Certification in Precision Fermentation Dairy

After obtaining self-GRAS status last November for its animal-free lactoferrin, LF+, TurtleTree, a Singaporean biotech company operating in California, USA, announces that the product has officially obtained vegan certification.  TrutleTree’s protein and manufacturing process has been certified by Vegan Action, the leading vegan certification provider in the US. The vegan stamp ensures that consumers can trust the absence of animal products, byproducts, and animal testing in their products. According to the Singaporean biotech, this milestone establishes it as the first precision fermentation dairy company globally to obtain vegan certification. Meanwhile, it also marks the first time that Vegan Action gives the stamp to a novel protein in its 24-year trajectory with more than 15,000 products Vegan Certified. Fengru Lin, CEO and co-founder of TurtleTree, comments: …


Slice of pizza with melting New Culture cheese

© New Culture


New Culture Announces “World First” GRAS Status for Precision Fermentation Casein, Paving the Way for Animal-Free Mozzarella

Following a review by an independent panel of qualified scientific and toxicology experts, Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces that it has self-affirmed its precision fermentation-derived casein as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).  New Culture claims this achievement marks the “world’s first” GRAS designation for animal-free casein, which allows it to sell its products containing casein in the USA. New Culture has yet to notify the FDA through the GRAS Notification Program. It is worth noting that this step is not mandatory; however, the FDA strongly encourages manufacturers to contact the agency by submitting a notice. Inja Radman, co-founder and CSO of New Culture, shares: “Having secured another ‘world’s first’ for our animal-free casein is a testament to the hard-working and innovative team we have …


Alpha Foods is using HME in a different way to make meatier plant-based chicken.

Image courtesy of Alpha Foods

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Alpha Foods Unleashes the Power of HME Technology to Make the “Most-Meat Like” Plant-Based Chicken Strips

California-based Alpha Foods, a popular plant-based brand known for its frozen burritos, wraps, tamales, and nuggets,  launched plant-based Homestyle Chik’n Strips last year to cater to consumers from vegans to flexitarians to meat lovers. The company, now part of the The LIVEKINDLY Collective, says that its plant-based chicken strips shred, taste, and cook just like chicken and describes them as the “most meat-like” plant-based chicken.  To satisfy consumer demands for a plant-based product that provides a meat-like eating experience, the company leverages High Moisture Extrusion (HME) technology but uses a unique processing approach.   Alpha Foods explains that its HME method mixes and cooks soy and wheat in an extruder at specific temperatures. Through this process, the plant proteins melt and fold into strands that resemble the fibers responsible …


New Wave PopcornShrimp

© New Wave Foods

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

US Plant-Based Shrimp Firm New Wave Foods Shuts Down Amidst Financial Woes

San Francisco-based New Wave Foods, a plant-based seafood company backed by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of poultry giant Tyson Foods, ceased activities last November and is currently undergoing assignment for the benefit of creditors (a voluntary alternative to formal bankruptcy), as first reported by Alt Meat. According to a general assignment document, New Wave Foods faced financial difficulties and admitted its inability to repay its debts fully. Consequently, the company decided to halt its operations.  Plant-based shrimp for foodservice New Wave Foods manufactured plant-based shrimp for the food service industry. Michelle Wolf and Dominique Barnes established the company in 2015 to disrupt the $9 billion dollar shrimp market with an alternative made with sustainable seaweed and plant proteins. The company planned to develop a range …


Yali Bio team

Yali Bio team © Yali Bio


Yali Bio Unveils Game-Changing Human Breast Milk Fat from Yeast, Set to Transform Nutritonal Value of Infant Formula

Yali Bio, a US biotech startup developing climate-smart ingredients using yeast in precision fermentation, announces a new game-changing development for infant nutrition: a bioidentical analog of human breast milk fat known as OPO. Yali Bio says that its yeast-derived OPO will optimize and enhance the nutritional value of infant formulas, improving infant health outcomes; according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 130 million newborn babies are fed infant formula at least partially. OPO, scientifically termed 1,3-dioleolyl-2-palmitate, is naturally found in high concentrations in breast milk and plays a crucial role in nutrient absorption and the overall health of infants. However, according to Yali Bio, a cost-effective source of OPO for infant formula has yet to be available, with most products relying on fats derived from …


The Checkerspot team

The Checkerspot team © Checkerspot


Checkerspot Unveils “Breakthrough” for Baby Formula: Human Milk Fat Analog Made Using Microalgae Fermentation

California’s Checkerspot, a biotechnology firm that produces renewable oils by fermentation of microalgae, announces the development and large-scale production of fat analog that the company claims mimics the human milk fat known as OPO (Oleic-Palmitic-Oleic or sn-2 palmitate).  According to the company, this “breakthrough” achievement will revolutionize infant nutrition with essential lipids that contribute to better digestion and nutrient absorption and potentially offer long-term health benefits for infants. Making a human milk triglyceride Checkerspot has developed a technology that can accurately modify specific fatty acids in a living organism to create triglyceride structures with precise distribution at the molecular level. This capability allows for the production of OPO’s analog. The biotech has also been able to scale its fermentation platform, allowing for the production of fats at …


Daiya Foods Fromage Forgery

© Daiya Foods

Marketing & Media

Daiya Introduces “Fromage Forgery” with Actor Lionel Boyce in a Nod to Dupe Culture

Daiya, a leading dairy-free brand, has launched “Fromage Forgery,” a marketing campaign to promote the newly launched formula, introducing its newly revamped dairy-free cheese to a wider audience in collaboration with actor Lionel Boyce, known for his work on the award-winning series “The Bear”. The initiative plays off the ‘dupe culture’ trend, which has been prevalent in other sectors such as fashion and beauty, and involves product alternatives that closely resemble original luxury items. The company marked this initiative in downtown New York City, where over 350 people gathered to experience Daiya’s cheese alternative with its proprietary Daiya Oat Cream™ blend and its ability to mimic traditional dairy cheese in both taste and texture. The product’s “cheese dupe status” was showcased through a simple yet …


Uncommon pork belly

© Uncommon


UC Davis Inaugurates Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein Research

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) unveils the Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein (iCAMP) aimed at revolutionizing the alternative protein sector through widespread commercial adoption efforts and technological progress in the field of alternative proteins. David Block, the center director and professor in chemical engineering and viticulture, cites that the global meat demand is projected to surge by 50% to 100% over the next quarter-century, emphasizing the urgency of developing sustainable alternatives. He states, “Expansion of conventional animal agriculture is unlikely to be able to meet demand at a reasonable price. We have to come up with alternatives and create additional sustainable food sources.” iCAMP brings together a diverse mix of experts including top researchers, industry professionals, advocacy groups, and food innovators, …


Cultivated Biosciences, a Swiss biotech startup creating fats from yeast fermentation, has presented its first proof-of-concept, a dairy-free coffee creamer.

© Cultivated Biociences


Cultivated Biosciences Crafts Dairy-Free Coffee Creamer Using Yeast-Based Fat

Cultivated Biosciences, a Swiss biotech startup creating fats from yeast fermentation, has developed its first proof-of-concept, a dairy-free coffee creamer. The innovative prototype, made with the biotech’s yeast-based fat, is said to match the performance of dairy creamers, challenging commercially available plant-based alternatives: it is white like milk and tastes just like a regular American commercial creamer. In addition, it blends without flaking (flocculation) despite not containing binders and additives, making it a clean-label product.  Tomas Turner, founder and CEO of Cultivated Biosciences, commented: “We are proud to show the industry the value of our ingredient in a convincing final product application, it marks the beginning of our path to commercialization.” Superior dairy-free fats Using yeasts and biomass fermentation, the biotech is developing functional fats with …


Animal-free liquid eggs in a bowl

Image courtesy of The EVERY Co.

Egg Alternatives

The EVERY Co. Unveils The EVERY Egg, World’s First Precision Fermentation Liquid Eggs

US biotech company The EVERY Co. has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first liquid egg product created with precision fermentation-derived proteins. Branded as The EVERY Egg, the innovation is said to match the culinary flexibility of eggs, serving as a 1:1 replacer for mixed eggs in any application, including favorite dishes like omelets. The product combines a blend of animal-free ovalbumin and plant-based ingredients (to enhance the flavor and texture), delivering eight grams of protein per serving and zero cholesterol, saturated fat, or artificial flavors. The innovation was introduced in a multi-course dinner prepared by Chef Daniel Humm at the three-Michelin-star, plant-based restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York City, announced the company. “Eggs are a universal staple in every kitchen, and this is …