Kalsec partners with Infinime for precision fermentation products

Diving Brief:

  • Kalsec, a producer of colorants and natural ingredients for the food industry, is partnering with biomanufacturing company Infinome Biosciences to develop and commercialize precision fermentation products. Infinime will use its CRISPR platform to create and produce the molecules that Kalsec will then distribute.
  • Executives from both companies told Food Dive they hope to identify molecules that could be commercialized within a year, with the first hitting the market as early as 2024.
  • Precision fermentation – a process using nature and natural organisms, such as yeast, as factories for growing food ingredients – is rapidly gaining popularity and now plays an important role in the creation of plant-based products or meats. cell-based.

Overview of the dive:

Once associated with making yogurt or beer, fermentation has exploded onto the scene in recent years as companies seek to create larger-scale ingredients that are more sustainable.

Although in its early stages, the partnership between Kalsec and Infinome will target the manufacturing of ingredients that serve uses such as nutrition, taste and food preservation. Both companies declined to talk about the specific food or drink products they target or the molecules they work with.

Roger Nahas, Kalsec’s executive vice president of global R&D and chief innovation officer, said the Michigan-based company isn’t giving up on producing ingredients from traditional forms like plants. Rather, he said fermentation is a way to “give people options” and complements his existing business.

In some cases, Nahas said the ingredients can be difficult to produce because they are not available in sufficient quantities, are too expensive to extract from the plant, or require a lot of resources like water and land to grow vegetation. . Precision fermentation will help the company overcome these hurdles in its production of natural colors and ingredients used in everything from breads, soups and sauces to pickles, poultry and vegetable proteins.

“We have goals that [don’t] logical for us to continue [through] traditional processes,” Nahas said. “It’s about sustainability and providing innovative and functional ingredients that are badly needed in the industry today. ”

Richard Fox, co-founder and CEO of Infinome, said the food space is in the early stages of being able to use precision fermentation to “create any number of things you can imagine.”

He said that although the technology has been around for thousands of years, it has recently advanced to the point where it can be used to “produce exactly what you want in high quality and very efficiently”. Fox compared it to the internet where key technologies emerged that accelerated development and eventually brought it to the masses.

” What happened [fermentation] industry is that until now, the tools and technologies to do this effectively have not been available,” Fox said.

Both Nahas and Fox added that if the partnership using fermentation is about sustainability and delivering innovations faster, it could also be lucrative.

“It’s not just about making money,” Fox noted. “That said, there is a real opportunity for value creation here.”

For years, mycoprotein food company Quorn was the only player in the field of fermentation-based animal alternatives. But precision fermentation has been adopted more recently by several companies. Perfect Day uses it to make its animal-free dairy proteins, while Motif FoodWorks applies it to recreate proteins in dairy, meat and eggs in plant-based foods. The plant-based heme from Impossible Foods is also produced by the process.

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