Swedish Startup raises €750K to ferment animal-free fats

6 Sep 2021

Bio tech startup Melt & Marble, which was formerly known as Biopetrolia, has closed a €750,000 (US$879,000) seed funding round with the aim of creating fats that “close the taste gap between animal and plant-based meats.”

The funding round was led by Nordic FoodTech VC with participation from other investors, including Paulig’s venture arm PINC, Purple Orange Ventures, and Chalmers Ventures.

Swedish Startup raises €750K to ferment animal-free fats
Image via Chad Montano on Unsplash

Fat seems to be a focal point for plant-based protein purveyors that are currently primarily reliant on coconut and palm oil for the silky texture that lipids impart. However, “Because the properties of plant-based fats are different from those of animal fats, the experience of eating many plant-based meats has so far been subpar compared to the real thing,” said Melt & Marble co-founder and CEO Anastasia Krivoruchko in a statement.

Taste continues to pose a significant barrier to the adoption of plant-based alternatives, so much so that a 2019 Kerry white paper found that for meat-eaters, taste is the No. 1 consideration when choosing plant-based substitutes. As fat is an integral component of the taste of an animal protein, it is essential that the alternatives being used in protein alternatives mimic the taste that consumers crave. Already meat alternative producers have expressed their willingness to look toward cultivated fat as a means of improving taste and texture, according to a 2021 survey by cultivated fat producer Peace of Meat.

With this backdrop, Melt & Marble is appearing on the market at the right time. To remedy the continuing gap in taste experience, the startup is relying on precision fermentation to produce its fats. The team has been working on its technology since 2010 and has accumulated expertise in using precision fermentation to produce various lipids. Its technique involves engineering the metabolism of yeasts to create any fat structure as well as create completely new and better fats.

To start, Melt & Marble will develop a “beef-like” fat by the end of this year. Following that, the company plans to work with other animal fats, but it said that the next prototype will not appear for a couple of years.

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