ProVeg incubator targets mushroom and microalgae-based alternative-proteins
Seven start-ups have joined the incubator to develop the next generation of sustainable foods, “without animals and without comprising on taste, texture, or functionality”, explains Albrecht Wolfmeyer, Head of the ProVeg Incubator.
The global team have expertise in the three major approaches to alt-protein production: plant-based, fermentation, and cultivation.
This includes Colombian start-up, Fotortec, that has developed a scalable, circular system to produce mushroom-based ingredients using oyster mushrooms that grow on vegetable waste. Fotortec can upcycle vegetable waste (that would normally be discarded) using a technological process that mimics the way vegetable biomass is recycled in nature and addresses the universal problem of food waste.
Meanwhile German innovator, EatMyPlants, is developing microalgae using a fermentation process. One of the benefits of microalgae cultivation is that it does not compete with land and resources required for traditional crops and has a superior yield compared to traditional crops. It is high protein and exhibits “a huge potential to meet the dietary requirements of growing population”, according to research supplied by ProVeg.
“The ProVeg Incubator is bringing together a powerhouse of young start-up founders,” Wolfmeyer comments.
“Our latest cohort leverages cutting-edge ingredients like microalgae and fungi and creates novel ingredients like heme and dairy proteins for the alt-protein industry.”
ProVeg’s incubator programme harnesses innovation from global start-ups to accelerate the development of “disruptive alternatives” to animal-based products. The eighth round began on April 4 and will run online for 12 weeks.
Since it launched in 2018, the programme has collaborated with more than 60 start-ups globally and has collectively raised more than £192m (€230m).
Participants have access to a broad network of industry contacts, exclusive events, and co-working spaces. Each company is assigned an expert mentor, with one-on-one coaching once a week, and can benefit from marketing and media support and funding of up to £209,000 (€250,000).
The current incubator group also includes companies from the US, Canada, India, Germany, and Israel, are: OceanTastes, Biofect Innovations, Rewild Solutions, Culminate Foods, and Fabumin and are developing cultured seafood, meat-like products, cultured fat, and a plant-based alternative to the protein found in egg whites, respectively.
ProVeg International is a non-profit organisation established to transform the global food system by replacing animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives. The organisation’s mission is to reduce global animal consumption by 50% to 2040.
It is made up of multiple national organisations, each of them generating revenue in a variety of ways, such as through private donations, trusts and foundations, the V-Label and membership fees.
The organisation brings together decision-makers, businesses, investors, the media, and the general public to initiate change and help society and economies transition to a more sustainable system of food production.
The 12-week accelerator programmes are led by experts and include workshops and coaching sessions, a test kitchen, industry meet and greets, and various events to provide start-ups with the skills, knowledge, funding, and support they need to succeed. Each incubator culminates in an investment-focused Start-up Demo Day.