The Financial Times recently released a video titled “Fermenting: the future of animal-free meat?” in which Financial Times’ San Francisco correspondent Dave Lee interviewed IndieBio founders Arturo Elizondo from The EVERY Company (SF01 2015) and Kimberlie Le from Prime Roots (SF06 2018) to learn how precision fermentation is a significant contender in the alternative egg and animal meat markets.
The Financial Times first highlighted The EVERY Company’s unique process of combining genetic engineering with the age-old process of fermentation.
“We produce real animal protein without using the animal,” Elizondo commented. “It is identical to what the animal makes.”
The video also showed how alt-protein companies can scale up production by piggybacking off bigger companies with existing fermentation facilities. For example, The EVERY Company partners with brewing giant ABInBev to use its facilities to ferment protein.
“There are companies around the world who have fermentation facilities that we can immediately plug and play into. That allows us to have maximum optionality and scale up very, very quickly,” Elizondo said.
Lee also interviewed Prime Roots CEO and co-founder Kimberlie Le about how the alt-meat startup, which recently raised $18.5M, uses fungus to produce alternative bacon and deli meats.
“Within conventional deli meats, there’s a ton of baggage. You have nitrates, there’s a lot of hormones, antibiotics, salt, and the list goes on and on,” Le said. “Our ingredient list is really short and clean and that’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
Prime Roots ferments koji, a fungus with a fibrous texture that mimics the texture of meat, to mix, season, press, and bake into meat-like forms and flavors.
Lee also spoke to journalist and author of “Technically Food” Larissa Zimberoff on the future of alternative proteins. “Fermentation is one of the tog dogs right now,” she explained. “People want to call it ‘clean’ because it has a short ingredient list and you can wrap your head around it—unlike the plant-based alternatives, which have 12 to 15 ingredients.”