Gothenburg, Sweden-based Melt&Marble (previously Biopetrolia), a company working on fermentation-based production of animal fats, announced on Thursday that it has raised €5M in its Seed round of funding.
Prior to this, the company had raised €750K in August, 2021, led by Nordic FoodTech VC. Other investors also included Paulig’s venture arm PINC, Purple Orange Ventures, and Chalmers Ventures.
Melt&Marble has created a non-animal fat with the properties of beef fat. Since the technology can also be used to produce other animal fats, it could be a real game-changer in sustainable food production.
“Designer fats via precision fermentation”
Founded in 2015 by Anastasia Krivoruchko, Florian David, and Jens Nielsen, Melt&Marble’s precision fermentation platform enables it to create customised fats with molecular properties mirroring those of animal fats, allowing for ingredients that deliver the flavour, melt and mouthfeel of real animal fat.
The company claims that its ingredients will enable a major step forward in erasing the taste gap between conventional animal-based foods and plant-based alternatives.
Anastasia Krivoruchko says, “While most people accept that we must minimise our consumption of animal-based foods, plant-based alternatives face a big hurdle. The plant-based fats currently used simply do not feel, act and taste like animal-based fats. As a result, the food does not taste as good, making it less attractive to consumers. As far as we’re aware, this is the first beef-like fat prototype produced via precision fermentation. It is a groundbreaking step towards making plant-based meat tastier.”
Melt&Marble’s technology platform was spun out from research work conducted over the past decade by the co-founders at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
Melt&Marble says that the funds will help the company accelerate toward commercialisation by expanding R&D efforts, scaling up production, conducting extensive application tests, and expanding the team. The company is also actively recruiting bioprocess and microbial engineers in addition to a Head of Food Science to grow its food technology team.
Tests conducted on the company’s latest prototype show it displays the gradual melting behaviour of beef fat, an important property for achieving slow flavour release and lingering juiciness. “So much is happening in this field, and we are immensely proud to help with the transition towards more environmentally friendly food production,” added Dr Krivoruchko.
Investors in this round
The round was led by Lever VC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on innovative technologies and brands in the alternative protein space. The investment also saw participation from new investors Be8 Ventures and Good Startup, and existing investors Nordic Foodtech VC, PINC (Paulig Incubator), and Chalmers Ventures.
James Caffyn, Partner at Lever VC, says, “Melt&Marble’s fermentation-derived beef fat will facilitate the step-change in product quality that companies in the space have been striving for, increasing the size of their addressable markets and accelerating consumer uptake. We have been impressed by the progress Dr Krivoruchko and her team have made and are excited to support them in their growth.”