Beer company AB InBev will help scale Clara Foods' animal-free protein4 May 2021
Maker of alternative proteins, Clara Foods, has teamed up with the VC arm of brewing giant AB InBev to expand its operations and ferment animal-free protein at scale. Its first product will be egg white proteins for manufacturers, and the initial products are set to become available later this year.
In order to compete in the protein industry, Clara Foods requires the large-scale, food-grade fermentation capabilities that AB InBev has perfected over the centuries of brewing beer. While this partnership may appear unusual on the surface, the symbiosis of the collaboration is apparent when looking at the mission of ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s venture arm. ZX Ventures is looking to grow the food systems of the future by leveraging its fermentation technology to provide precision fermentation for animal-free, protein-based foods.
Clara Foods fits the bill as a fermentation-focused alternative protein startup, and this new partnership with AB InBev presents the opportunity to allow the small startup to approach price parity with other proteins – both animal and alternative – through scale.
The current agreement between ZX Ventures and Clara Foods does not include the manufacturing of the proteins, but rather the fermentation process. However, as this is AB InBev’s first-ever with a food company, there are indications that this partnership may expand in the future, according to reports by Food Dive. ZX Ventures is also considering using its fermentation technology to create a platform for any alternative protein developers that need to use fermentation to make its products at scale.
For the time being, the pair will focus on adapting the existing beer brewing technology for use in brewing animal proteins. Going forward though, Clara Foods hopes to move beyond egg white replacements.
Just last month, the protein startup unveiled an animal-free pepsin that is available for manufactures. Ingredients giant Ingredion will distribute this product globally. Additionally, the company will be working on its egg white replacement as well as egg protein for beverages.