Jul 14, 2021
By Pae Wu
Lypid: Making vegan fat perform like animal fat

Making plant-based foods without compromise. Lypid’s secret sauce: a sustainable, healthy and tastier fat alternative.

We’ve had an on again, off again relationship with fats.  One crucial challenge for plant-based foods is that they’re missing the fat.  Most of the time, they incorporate coconut oil as an ersatz lard or butter, and it’s simply not hitting the spot. As a B2B company, Lypid is putting a new spin on fats to bring lip-smacking goodness to the exploding plant-based meat category.  

Who is Lypid and what was its genesis?

I’m Jen-Yu, the co-founder and CEO of Lypid. I did my PhD in chemical engineering at Cornell where I actually did a lot of research on carbon capture. And I interviewed more than a hundred companies in 3 months to figure out whether there’s a way to commercialize the technology I was building in the lab. And what I figured out is that why not just eat less animal meat, then we don’t need to worry about capturing those carbon dioxide. Then that’s how I started my journey in the food space. And that I did try a lot of  alternative protein and plant-based meat on the market. But as a meat eater myself, I have to be honest, that current product is not there yet to totally change my diet and I happen to be a scientist. So I decided to do more research and study in this space and to figure out why plant-based meat doesn’t taste like real meat.

I’m also pretty lucky to have met my co-founder and Michelle at Cornell. We found out that fat is the key missing part to elevate the taste, texture and appearance of plant-based products. So that’s how we started our journey.

What is the fat you are making? 

We enable a tech that allows vegan oils to perform like animal fat. We take liquid vegan oils, and with our special processing technology and formulation strategy, it can perform like animal fat which stands above cooking temperature. The new vegan fat can cook above 165 degrees Celsius and it will still stay on the pan. No matter how you cook our new vegan fat, it behaves like real bacon fat.

How is Lypid’s technology going to deploy into the market? 

Currently, almost all of the alternative protein products on the market need improvements, especially in terms of tastes and textures. We think fat is the key missing part for such improvements. That’s why we decided that we would go with a B2B business model to elevate the entire alternative protein industry. We position ourselves as an upstream technology provider for other companies. Not only do we want to sell fat, but in the long term we also want to provide a high-tech full solution to the industry.

What has been the biggest thing you’ve learned during the IndieBio program?

I will say it’s getting connected to partners and talking to a lot of customers. Since Michelle and I are both scientists, both of us spent most of our time in the lab. So talking to people is very challenging in the beginning. At IndieBio, we learn to discover customers’ needs by utilizing our entrepreneurship and scientist mindset. In the past four months, we have talked with more than fifteen customers and are designing solutions for them.