ZX Ventures and Clara Foods to scale up animal-free egg protein “brewed” through fermentation
22 Apr 2021 --- ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s global investment and innovation group, has established an R&D partnership with Clara Foods, a specialist in animal-free protein production, to unlock the possibilities of precision fermentation at large scale. The partnership intends to explore the development of sustainable, animal-free egg protein “brewed” on a large scale.
ZX Ventures will lend its expertise in scaled, food-grade fermentation and downstream processing gained from large-scale brewing processes. Meanwhile, Clara Foods will offer its technology knowledge in animal-free, performance proteins.
“Meeting the increased demand for food requires breakthrough solutions built on collaboration and innovation that spans several industry domains – both old and new,” says Patrick O’Riordan, founder and CEO at BioBrew.
BioBrew is a technology platform venture in ZX Ventures that is exploring opportunities to apply large-scale fermentation and downstream processing expertise, beyond beer.
“The ancient and natural process of fermentation can be further harnessed to help meet future demands in our global food system,” O’Riordan envisions.
Scaling up animal-free egg proteins
Clara Foods’ next milestone is the commercialization of the world’s first animal-free egg proteins, with aims to become the largest egg protein supplier by 2028.
In a previous Key Interview, the company spoke in detail with FoodIngredientsFirst about its launch of the first-ever animal-free bioidentical pepsin for commercial use “made without a single animal cell.”
Achieving scalability, sustainability and economic viability are key targets of the alt-protein partnership.
“Humanity needs solutions that match the scale and urgency of our problems. Since day one, Clara has been on a mission to accelerate the world’s transition to animal-free protein, starting with the egg,” says Arturo Elizondo, CEO and co-founder of Clara Foods.
“More than one trillion eggs are consumed globally every year and corporate commitments for cage-free aren’t enough,” he continues.
“Working with BioBrew, ZX Ventures, and the broader AB InBev group truly allows us to harness our novel technology and bring it to scale – and the possibilities are immense.”
Egg replacements NPD
The appetite for egg replacements is in line with the broader consumer demand for animal-free F&B options.
Tapping into this need, yellow Chlorella vulgaris microalgae manufactured by the Portuguese provider Allmicroalgae is marketed as a broadly applicable egg substitute. Compared to conventional, intensely green-coloured products, this latest offering is more neutral in taste and color while offering the same nutritional value.
Meanwhile, UK-based Moolec Science has expanded its portfolio to include animal-free protein solutions based on molecular farming. The agri-tech company is engineering ovum protein into wheat for an egg replacement specially designed for the bakery industry.
Edited by Benjamin Ferrer
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