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5 startups leading the way in alternative proteins

Alternative protein companies you need on your radar

The alternative protein industry is abuzz with innovation, and the latest cohort from ProVeg Incubator is no exception. This year, five promising food-tech startups are set to redefine how we think about food production and consumption. These companies are poised to make significant impacts, from cultivated seafood to advanced ingredient encapsulation. Here’s a closer look at these trailblazers and what makes them stand out.

1. Atlantic Fish Co

Location: United States
Founders: Doug Grant and Trevor Ham
Focus: Cultivated Seafood
Website: atlanticfish.co

Atlantic Fish Co, founded by Doug Grant and Trevor Ham in 2022, is making waves with its cultivated seafood, particularly wild-caught marine white fish such as sea bass, snapper, flounder, and grouper. In April 2024, they achieved a milestone by unveiling the world’s first cultivated black sea bass.

What sets Atlantic Fish Co apart is their proprietary technology designed to adapt cells for immortalisation and suspension, specific to white fish species. Their next big goal is to reduce the cost of cultivated seafood by developing customized growth media for black sea bass and hosting product-tasting events for restaurant partners. As pioneers in the US marine whitefish segment, Atlantic Fish Co is leading the charge towards sustainable seafood solutions.

Atlantic Fish. Source: Atlantic Fish.

2. Optimized Foods

Location: United States
Founders: Zane Starkewolfe, Cody Yothers, Minami Ogawa, Maja Segerman Nielsen, and Lynn Hanson
Focus: Mycelium-based Ingredient Encapsulation
Website: optimizedfoods.com

Optimized Foods emerged from the scientific minds at the University of California, Davis, who saw the potential in mycelium’s properties. Their MycoCarrier™ technology encapsulates fats, flavors, and nutrients, allowing for precise control over the texture, taste, and nutritional value of alternative protein products.

This innovative approach addresses numerous food industry challenges, offering a versatile solution to enhance the quality and appeal of plant-based foods. Optimized Foods’ participation in the Big Ideas Ventures Protein Accelerator Program in 2022 has further positioned them as key players in the biomass fermentation and fungi-based sectors.

The Optimized team. Source: Optimized Foods.

3. AlProtein

Location: Egypt / United States
Founders: Omar Zaghloul and Mohamed Almoatasem
Focus: B2B Protein Ingredients from Microalgae and Water Lentils
Website: alprotein.tech

AlProtein, co-founded by Omar Zaghloul and Mohamed Almoatasem, leverages AI-powered biomanufacturing to produce high-quality proteins using microalgae and water lentils. This sustainable approach eliminates the need for freshwater or arable land, making it a game-changer for plant-based meat and cheese manufacturers.

Their technology not only replaces synthetic additives and binders but also significantly enhances the unit economics of alternative protein production. AlProtein’s innovative solutions are set to tackle food security issues, especially in regions facing resource constraints.

The AlProtein team. Source: AlProtein.

4. Fisheroo

Location: Singapore
Founder: Aaron Chua
Focus: Enabling Technologies for Cell-Based Meat and Seafood
Website: LinkedIn Profile

Aaron Chua, a biotechnologist and founder of Fisheroo, has firsthand experience in the cultivated industry. Noticing inefficiencies and a lack of differentiation in the market, he created Fisheroo to provide enabling technologies for cell-based meat and seafood producers.

Fisheroo’s offerings include cell lines, supplements, and bioprocess solutions that are agnostic to cell types and species. This approach ensures that companies can cultivate meat and seafood more efficiently and economically. By addressing underserved verticals, Fisheroo is paving the way for a more streamlined and effective cultivated protein industry.

food-tech startups
Aaron Chua, FIsheroo. Source: Fisheroo.

5. Friends & Family Pet Food Co

Location: United States
Founders: Joshua Errett, Jonny Cruz, and Dr. Sarah Dodd
Focus: Cultivated Pet Food
Website: friendsandfamily.pet

Friends & Family Pet Food Co, co-founded by Joshua Errett, Jonny Cruz, and Dr. Sarah Dodd, is revolutionizing pet nutrition with yeast and cultivated ingredients. Their products are meticulously designed to meet the protein requirements of cats and dogs, incorporating essential amino acids and other nutritional benefits.

Combining expertise from the pet food industry and veterinary nutrition, the team ensures that their offerings are both nutritious and sustainable. They have secured agreements with a yeast lab and co-manufacturer and plan to launch their innovative pet food in US retail stores next year.

food-tech startups
Joshua Errett, Friends & Family Pet Food Co. Source: Friends & Family Pet Food Co.

A revamped ProVeg program

ProVeg Incubator is the world’s leading incubator for plant-based, fermentation and cultivated food startups. Our team is shaping the future of food by supporting the companies at the forefront of innovation.

This year, ProVeg Incubator has extended the program from 12 weeks to five months, providing participants with more coaching, time, and opportunities to elevate their businesses. The program kicks off with a week in Berlin, featuring workshops, ice-breakers, and industry events. It will culminate in a Demo Day at the New Food Conference on September 3, 2024, where the startups will pitch to investors, media, and industry professionals.

Stay tuned as we follow these innovative startups on their journey to transform the food industry. Their advancements in cultivated seafood, mycelium-based technologies, sustainable protein ingredients, enabling technologies for cell-based meat, and cultivated pet food hold immense promise for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Follow their progress and join us at the New Food Conference to witness the future of food-tech unfold.

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