ProVeg incubator targets mushroom and microalgae-based alternative-proteins

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

©Proveg Incubator
©Proveg Incubator

Related tags ProVeg incubator Fermentation

ProVeg International aims to accelerate the development of mushroom and microalgae-based seafood ingredients in its latest alternative (alt) protein ‘incubator’ programme.

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​.”

Accelerating innovation

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.

Global change

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.

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