- Hugo Walker
Food tech startup develops yeast-based palm oil alternative
Clean Food Group, a food tech startup which aims to create sustainable solutions for the food industry, has raised £1.6m to pioneer an alternative to palm oil.
Palm oil, one of the food industry’s most prevalent yet controversial ingredients, is in up to 50% of packaged products in supermarkets and is worth a total global market value of over $50bn. The cultivation of palm oil has been highly criticised for its disastrous effects on the environment, particularly the deforestation its farming has caused in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Christopher Chuck, Technical Advisor at Clean Food Group, said: "Our dependence on palm oil comes at a great environmental cost. We’ve worked over many years to create robust palm oil alternatives that give us a real chance to cut the impact of a range of products that until now have only been possible to produce with palm oil and the deforestation, pollution and emissions that come with it."
Clean Food Group will use yeast as a base to develop the palm oil alternative. The group has already invested £4.4m to acquire intellectual property from the University of Bath, while the further £1.6m will be used to build a pilot plant to develop products. The funding comes from Agronomics, a venture capital firm specialising in biotech.
Alex Neves, co-founder and CEO of Clean Food Group, said: "In addition to our acquisition of the intellectual property for the palm oil alternative technology and our collaboration with the University of Bath to scale the technology, we will be investing in securing regulatory approval for our palm oil alternative ingredients in multiple markets."
A suitable, sustainable and mainstream alternative to palm oil would revolutionise the food industry. Firms like Clean Food Group are taking the industry by storm, attracting investment and attention with the hopes that environmentally sound alternatives can be pioneered.