A collage of the brands that have partnered with Spiber

© Spiber Inc.

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Spiber Raises Over JPY10 Billion for Mass Production of Fermented Proteins for Materials

Spiber Inc., a Japanese biotech “brewing” sustainable materials for the fashion, automotive, and personal care industry, announces it has raised over JPY10 billion (around $65M) in equity financing. Spiber has raised a total funding of $489 million over 9 rounds. The funding, which included additional investments from existing shareholders, will allow the company to accelerate mass production of its innovative Brewed Protein materials and facilitate global sales.  Founded in 2007, Spiber uses precision fermentation and polymer and material science to develop protein-based alternatives to animal and petrochemical materials. Its polymers can be used to make spider silk, wool, cashmere, leather, fur, and more. The company already operates biomanufacturing plants in Thailand and is building another in Iowa, USA. Kazuhide Sekiyama, Director and Representative Executive Officer …

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Polopo CEO Maya Sapir Mir

Polopo CEO Maya Sapir Mir

veg+ Opinion

Op Ed: Maya Sapir-Mir, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder of PoLoPo, on Growing Animal Proteins from Potatoes

Maya Sapir-Mir is CEO and co-founder of PoLoPo, a molecular farming pioneer producing proteins directly in common crops, beginning with egg protein (ovalbumin) grown in potatoes. PoLoPo last year raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding and recently unveiled its molecular farming platform, SuperAA, for producing key proteins ovalbumin and patatin. Maya has nearly ten years of experience in the biotech industry and agricultural R&D and holds a PhD in plant sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She performed post-doctoral work at the Volcani Institute, Israel’s leading agricultural R&D facility, in protein identification, extraction, and characterization in plants and microorganisms. Here, she explains the importance of this emerging biotechnology; “Instead of inefficiently growing plants to feed animals crowded in factory farms, molecular farming gives us …

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Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Kagome Takes Over Blue Diamond Almond Breeze in Japan, Will Launch New Products in September

Blue Diamond Growers, which claims to be the world’s largest almond marketer and processor, has announced that Kagome Co Ltd, known as a manufacturer and distributor of tomato-based foods, and fruit and vegetable juices, will now operate all production and distribution in Japan. Blue Diamond intends to utilize Kagome’s market knowledge to increase sales and consumption of Almond Breeze in Japan. The new partnership will focus on accelerating market growth and increasing demand for Almond Breeze, and additionally, new products will also be launched through Kagome in September of this year. Almond’s popularity in Japan The almond milk category in Japan continues to see year-on-year growth and almond is one of the most preferred plant milk in the country after soy. “The growth of the …

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EFISHient Protein, announces that it has achieved a significant milestone with the successful development of the Tilapia cell line.

Courtesy of EFISHient Protein, image credit Roee Shpernik

Cultivated Seafood

EFISHient Protein Achieves Milestone in Tilapia Cell Line Development

Israel’s leading cultivated fish startup, EFISHient Protein, announces that it has achieved a significant milestone with the successful development of the cell line of the water fish Tilapia. EFISHient Protein says that it is establishing a genetic cell bank by leveraging its advanced technology to produce muscle and fat cells of the sought-after fish. This achievement in cell line development comes after the successful creation of a cultivated tilapia fillet prototype, which was achieved ahead of schedule last year. According to the company, both achievements highlight its dedication and support for an environmentally friendly fish industry on a global scale. Dana Levin, CEO of EFISHient Protein, shared, “Completing the Tilapia cell line development showcases our dedication to accelerating sustainable protein solutions, ensuring future generations can enjoy nutritious and …

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Finally Foods utilize plants as "bioreactors," modifying them with cutting-edge technology to grow sustainable alternatives to animal-based proteins, starting with casein to make cheese.

© Finally Foods

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Finally Foods Secures Funds for AI-Driven Plant Molecular Tech to Produce Casein for Cheese

Israeli startup Finally Foods Ltd., an AI-driven company focused on revolutionizing the alt-protein sector through plant molecular farming, has secured pre-seed funding from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub (TKH) and the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA).  Finally Foods utilizes potatoes as “bioreactors,” modifying them with cutting-edge technology to grow sustainable alternatives to animal-based proteins. It will start by producing casein, the key protein to make “cheese that’s gentle on our planet and a joy for the taste buds.” The new company leverages AI technology developed by the Israeli computational biology company Evogene. This technology enables the rapid discovery and development of biological markers for genetic engineering and other applications. It also promises short R&D cycles and a swift path to market. Sustainable future According to the announcement, …

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A close up of a man's hands tearing apart a piece of 3D printer plant-based beef steak to show the muscle-like fibres.

© Steakholder Foods

Printed Technology

Steakholder Foods Enters US Market with Ready Blends for 3D Plant-Based Meat and Fish

Israeli bioprinting technology expert Steakholder Foods (Nasdaq: STKH) has entered the US market with the launch of SHMeat and SHFish; blended dried extracts of ingredients ready for mixing to create 3D plant-based alternatives. The initial blends, Beef Steak and White Fish have been developed to replicate the taste and texture of traditional meat while delivering superior quality and flavor. Steakholder Foods plans to expand its plant-based offering with a range of other “exciting” blends to cater to various culinary preferences: Beef Asado, Beef Tenderloin, Beef Flank, Chicken Fillet, and Salmon. According to the announcement, all the ingredients of the new blends have already achieved Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status, underscoring the company’s dedication to consumer health and safety. This move marks the company’s first step …

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Supermeat Cultivated Chicken Sandwich

© SuperMeat

Cultivated Meat

SuperMeat’s Cultivated Chicken Outperforms Most Efficient Farm Animal in Carbon Footprint Study

Chicken is considered the most efficient source of land-animal protein compared to beef and pork due to its lower feed conversion ratio and smaller environmental footprint. However, cultivated chicken presents an opportunity for even greater sustainability. A new life cycle analysis (LCA) from the Israeli startup SuperMeat, conducted by independent research consultancy CE Delft about the environmental impact of its 100% cultivated chicken vs. conventional chicken, found a 47% reduction in carbon emissions when the production used renewable energy. The LCA focused on large-scale production anticipated at the start of the next decade in a scenario where SuperMeat’s production integrates renewable energy within its facility, supply chain, utilities, and medium. Meanwhile, chicken production was based on obtaining soy from deforestation-free supply chains and utilizing renewable …

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Innohas plant-based food facility

© Innohas

Manufacturing & Technology

Innohas Opens “World’s Largest” Plant-Based Food Facility in South Korea

South Korea’s Innohas has announced the opening of its second manufacturing site — claimed to be the world’s largest fully plant-based food facility — in the city of Jecheon. The factory will produce Korean-style plant-based foods to be sold under Innohas’ Sunlit Foods brand. This will cater to the growing demand for Korean cuisine worldwide, while also making it easier for Koreans to adopt a plant-based diet. The site’s facilities will include Korea’s largest frozen kimbap production line, dedicated plant-based BBQ and deep-frying lines, and an exclusive oven line for plant-based products. This will allow for the production of both finished products and ingredients. The Sunlit Foods brand currently offers 11 ready-to-eat meals, including Plant-based Bulgogi, Vegetable Kimbap, Plant-based Bulgogi Japchae, and Plant-based Bibimbap. The …

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Cultivated Fish Burger from Avant

Cultivated fish burger © Avant

Cultivated Seafood

Avant Meats to Expand Cultivated Fish Production Significantly by 2025, Following Successful Pilot Production

China’s first cultivated and seafood startup, Avant Meats, is set to expand its manufacturing capacity from 250 to 2000 L bioreactors at its pilot plant in Singapore by 2025, CEO and co-founder Carrie Chan said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. Chan, who expressed confidence in Avant Meats’ end-to-end platform for cultivated fish products, said the company aims to raise new capital for its ambitious expansion plans later this year. Already running the first pilot scale batches in 50 and 250 L, Avant has obtained many kilograms of cultivated fish per batch to create prototypes (fish maw and fillet) and send samples to potential customers. The data gathered from these pilot runs will serve as valuable information for the company’s larger-scale plans, …

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Fresh bamboo shoots

© Debbie -stock.adobe.com

Protein

Another Sustainable Alt Protein Source: Bamboo Shoots Found to Contain Proteins Similar to Cow’s Milk

Bamboo shoots, the edible part of some bamboo plants, are gaining recognition as a source of essential amino acids, according to a recent study by researchers from the China National Bamboo Research Centre. Titled “Bamboo shoot and its food applications in the last decade: an undervalued edible resource from forest to feed future people,” the study highlights bamboo shoots’ nutritional composition and health benefits, noting their protein content is “similar to cow’s milk.” Bamboo as a nutritional powerhouse In an attempt to demonstrate how bamboo plants can be an alternative to conventional foods, the researchers found that bamboo shoots are rich in seven essential amino acids, carbohydrates (mainly fibers), iron, and vitamins while low in fat, making them a valuable source of nutrition. Furthermore, similar studies …

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PoLoPo unveils its SuperAA plant molecular farming platform already deployed in potato plants at a greenhouse scale.

Image courtesy of PoLoPo

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

PoLoPo Unveils Molecular Farming Platform in Potato Plants to Grow Egg Proteins

Last year, the Israeli agrifood startup PoLoPo raised $2.3 million, including $1.75 million in a pre-seed funding round to further develop its plant molecular farming technology for producing animal proteins in potatoes. Now, the startup unveils its molecular farming platform, SuperAA, already deployed in potato plants at a greenhouse scale. The initial focus of PoLoPo’s platform will be producing two key proteins: ovalbumin and patatin (the natural protein in potatoes). Ovalbumin, widely used in packaged foods for its functional properties, presents an affordable alternative to the industry amidst increasing egg prices and supply chain disruptions.  On the other hand, a patatin powder offers allergen-free protein suitable for various food products, from plant-based alternatives, such as DUG potato milk, to sports nutrition and nutraceuticals. Plant molecular farming is also used …

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Crepes filled with animal-free cream

© Imagindairy

Fermentation

Imagindairy and Ginkgo Bioworks Receive Grant to Accelerate the Launch of Cow-Free Dairy Proteins

Israeli animal-free dairy protein developer Imagindairy and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), a Boston-based biotech specializing in cell programming, announce a partnership to accelerate the introduction of a new wave of cow-free dairy. A joint grant from the Board of Governors of the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has partly funded the companies’s multiyear program to commercialize non-whey proteins. The collaboration will leverage Ginkgo Bioworks’ Protein Expression Services and Imagindairy’s process development and scale-up expertise to develop and manufacture animal-free whey cost-effectively to reach prices similar to dairy proteins.  Ginkgo is also working with the Chicago-based alt-seafood producer Aqua Cultured Foods to improve the economics and functions of its microbial strains for large-scale operations. Jennifer Wipf, CEO at Ginkgo Bioworks, shares, “Being awarded this …

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The Protein Brewery's flagship mycelium ingredient has received novel food approval in Singapore.

© The Protein Brewery

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

The Protein Brewery Receives Novel Food Regulatory Approval for Mycelium Protein in Singapore

Dutch fermentation specialist The Protein Brewery announces it has received regulatory approval from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) for its flagship mycelium-derived ingredient Fermotein. The approval will enable the company to import, manufacture, and sell Fermotien or products containing it while expanding its operations in the country. Singapore has emerged as a hub for alternative proteins since the SFA set ambitious targets to produce 30% of the nation’s nutritional needs locally by 2030. As part of this strategy, the country seeks to incorporate safe, novel foods and ingredients that promise nutritional and sustainable benefits. The Finish biotech Solar Foods has also received approval in Singapore, where it recently debuted a chocolate bar made with an air protein called Solein. CEO Sue Garfitt comments: “The Protein Brewery …

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Better Foods launches You Are What You Eat brand

© Better Foods

Company News

Better Foods Debuts New Plant-Forward Brand “You Are What you Eat” at Expo West

Better Foods, a plant-based subsidiary of South Korea’s Shinsegae Foods that was first introduced in 2022 for the US market, spearheaded its US expansion with the launch of new brand “You Are What You Eat” at this week’s Expo West event. At the event, Better Foods unveiled the new brand which debuted with ten new alternative meat and plant-based meal replacement products for home consumers, which it says were “produced using newly developed technology”. Says the landing page for the new brand: “‘YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT‘ is Better Foods’ take on plant-forward. It’s all about bringing delicious, healthy food to the table while caring for our planet. Think of plant-forward as encompassing everything from the base materials to the final meal, a concept that’s …

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KARANA jackfruit expands into retail in singapore, debuts at plantega in NYC

Image courtesy of KARANA

Studies & Numbers

Multiethnic Asian Survey Reveals Consumer Preference for Plant-Based Proteins Over Cultivated Meat and Insect-Based Products

A unique multiethnic Asian population survey supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Fund Tier 1, exploring consumer acceptance of alternative proteins, shows that participants are most willing to consume plant-based meat, over cultivated meat and insect-based products. Conducted among 1,224 adult Singaporean citizens — 75% Chinese, 15% Indian, and 10% Malay participants — the research delves into the drivers and barriers to consuming alternative protein foods to shed light on ways to promote more sustainable diets. Through an online survey, researchers identified various factors influencing alternative protein food consumption, including familiarity and acceptance, attitudinal factors such as food neophobia, drug residue concerns, zoonotic diseases,  food curiosity, “unnaturalness,” and distrust in gene technology, and lastly, willingness to pay for these alternatives. Plant-based leads the way The …

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Chickpea flour in a bowl and a bag of raw chickpeas

© Supplant Foods

Manufacturing & Technology

India’s Supplant Foods Secures Patent for Functional and Flavorless Chickpea Flour

Supplant Foods, a company based in India that sources, processes, and markets high-quality plant-based ingredients, announces that it has secured a patent for a method to produce a high-performance chickpea flour for plant-based alternatives and gluten-free foods. Developed by Supplant Foods’ team of researchers and experts, the patented process enhances the functionality of chickpea protein, effectively eliminates the compounds responsible for undesired off-flavors, and removes the color, expanding its use for food and beverages. Headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra, Supplant Foods has access to raw materials and low-cost quality manufacturing, allowing it to create a long-term, sustained value chain of sustainable products. The company has distribution partners in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, and Australia, in addition to India.   The taste challenge Despite the health and sustainability …

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Eclipse Foods bonbons

© Eclipse Foods

Products & Launches

Eclipse Foods Launches Plant-Based Ice Cream Bonbons in US, “eclipseco” Debuts in Japan

Plant-based ice cream brand Eclipse Foods has announced the launch of a new product line, Eclipse Bonbons. This new addition to its portfolio introduces a series of non-dairy ice cream bonbons, developed by an award-winning chef to mimic the creamy texture and rich flavors traditionally associated with dairy-based ice cream. These bonbons combine ultra-creamy non-dairy ice cream with a velvety chocolate shell and a variety of crunchy toppings, designed to provide a luxurious taste experience. The launch will feature three flavors: Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle, Peanut Butter Pretzel, and Coffee Almond Crunch, which are scheduled for release in March 2024 in select US grocery stores. Thomas Bowman, the co-founder and CTO of Eclipse Foods, commented on the company’s dedication to producing plant-based alternatives that replicate the …

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India's cultivated meat startup Biokraft Foods has announced a strategic collaboration with ICAR-Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research (DCFR) to create cultivated snow and rainbow trout products.

© Subin-Sailendran - stock.adobe.com

Cultivated Seafood

Biokraft Foods Partners with ICAR-DCFR for Cultivated Trout Products in India

Indian cultivated meat startup Biokraft Foods has announced a strategic collaboration with ICAR-Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research (DCFR) to create cultivated snow and rainbow trout products — two species that hold significant commercial value in the Indian market. Through the collaboration, ICAR-DCFR will develop the fish cell lines, and Biokraft Foods will create final products using 3D bioprinting and customized bioinks.  The ICAR-DCFR is India’s pioneer research institute working toward sustainable development of cold water aquaculture, management, and conservation of hill stream fishes. It operates under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Cultivating meat in India The novel food regulatory body in India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is already working to set a regulatory framework for approving cell-based foods, including cultivated …

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Pluri announces that it has secured a patent from the Israel Patent Office for its System for its 3D bioreactor plant cells technology.

© Pluri

Company News

Pluri Receives First-Ever Patent for 3D Bioreactor Technology in Plant Cell Cultivation

Pluri (Nasdaq:PLUR) (TASE:PLUR), parent company of the recently launched cell-based coffee biotech PluriAgtech, announces that it has secured a patent from the Israel Patent Office for its “System for 3D Cultivation of Plant Cells and Methods of Use.” Pluri claims this is the first-ever patent approval for 3D bioreactor technology in plant cell cultivation. Pluri’s 3D technology enables the cultivation of plant cells in bioreactors to develop sustainable and disease-free plant material for various sectors, from sustainable agriculture to healthcare.   According to the company,  approximately one-fifth of the 50,000 medical plants used today are on a list of threatened species, while climate change and restricted access to fresh water threaten temperature-sensitive crops such as coffee and cacao. Yaky Yanay, Pluri’s CEO and President, commented: “PluriAgtech’s patented …

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UMAMI Bioworks and Shiok Meats, have merged to establish a combined entity that will bring cultivated seafood closer to commercial viability.

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Company News

UMAMI Bioworks & Shiok Meats Merge to Commercialize Cultivated Seafood

Two cultivated seafood pioneers from Singapore — UMAMI Bioworks and Shiok Meats — have merged to establish a combined entity that will bring cultivated seafood closer to commercial viability. The strategic merge, believed to be the first in the cultivated seafood space, will leverage UMAMI Bioworks’ advanced production technologies with Shiok Meats’ research in crustacean cell cultivation. By combining their expertise, the companies expect to enhance go-to-market efficiencies, expand commercial opportunities, and accelerate regulatory approvals to introduce cultivated seafood products in the region while providing a production alternative to industrial fishing and aquaculture. Mihir Pershad, the CEO of UMAMI Bioworks, will lead the new company as CEO. He will be supported by global seafood investment leaders Hatch Blue and Aqua-Spark, who will join the company’s …

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