Gothenburg — Swedish company Melt&Marble, which uses precision fermentation to produce customized fats for the plant-based sector, has created a non-animal fat with the properties of beef fat. Since the technology can also be used to produce other animal fats, this could be a real game changer in sustainable food production. In connection with this the company secured a €5 million Series Seed financing round to scale-up production and expand the team.
Melt&Marble’s precision fermentation platform enables it to create customized fats with molecular properties mirroring those of animal fats, allowing for ingredients that deliver the flavor, melt and mouthfeel of real animal fat. Its ingredients will enable a major step forward in erasing the taste gap between conventional animal-based foods and plant-based alternatives.
“While most people accept that we must minimize our consumption of animal-based foods, plant-based alternatives face a big hurdle,” said CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Anastasia Krivoruchko. “The plant-based fats currently used simply do not feel, act and taste like animal-based fats. As a result, the food does not taste as good, making it less attractive to consumers. As far as we’re aware, this is the first beef-like fat prototype produced via precision fermentation. It is a groundbreaking step towards making plant-based meat tastier.”
Melt&Marble’s technology platform was spun out from research work conducted over the past decade by co-founders Dr. Krivoruchko, Dr. Florian David and Professor Jens Nielsen at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. The new funding round will be used to accelerate toward commercialization by expanding R&D efforts, scaling up production, conducting extensive application tests and expanding the team. The company is actively recruiting bioprocess and microbial engineers in addition to a Head of Food Science to grow its food technology team.
The company’s recent round was led by Lever VC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on innovative technologies and brands in the alternative protein space, with participation from new investors Be8 Ventures and Good Startup and existing investors Nordic Foodtech VC, PINC (Paulig Incubator) and Chalmers Ventures.
“Melt&Marble’s fermentation-derived beef fat will facilitate the step change in product quality that companies in the space have been striving for, increasing the size of their addressable markets and accelerating consumer uptake,” says James Caffyn, Partner at Lever VC. “We have been hugely impressed by the progress Dr. Krivoruchko and her team have made and are excited to support them in their growth.”
Tests conducted on the company’s latest prototype show it displays the gradual melting behavior of beef fat, an important property for achieving slow flavor release and lingering juiciness. “So much is happening in this field, and we are immensely proud to help with the transition towards more environmentally friendly food production,” added Dr. Krivoruchko.
Melt&Marble aims to boost the growth of the plant-based foods industry by providing it with the best possible fats for both consumers and the planet. Melt&Marble’s ambition is underpinned by its proprietary technology and its founders’ unparalleled knowledge in microbial engineering, allowing it to produce delicious animal fats without the animal that can be tailored to any application.