- Cubiq Foods, a Barcelona-based startup raised €5M for its lab-grown fats.
- Many startups compete in the clean meat and clean dairy spaces (see our 2018 mapping here). Their output is 100% muscle for meat and 100% protein (whey, casein) for milk. To recreate “real” animal products, they need to add fats.
- While many of these startups work with plant-based fats (mainly coconut and canola oil), Cubiq Foods wants to help them go further with cellular fat.
- Implications could go further than being a supplier to clean meat. As many companies are looking to lower the saturated fat content and calories of their products, this alternative fat could be a major answer.
In May, the Good Food Institute released its annual report on lab-grown (including cell-based and not fermentation startups such as Perfect Day) startups. From 2018 to 2019, investments rose from less than $40M to more than $80M (without taking into account the giant $186M deal into Memphis Meat). This doubling in investments (while the number of deals remained almost stable) is a demonstration of a growing faith of the investors into the potential of this ecosystem.
As said above, almost all of this ecosystem is concentrated around the reproduction of animal protein. But both dairy and meat are a mixture of proteins and a significant share of fat. Both in plant-based products (alternative milk, burgers such as Beyond Meat’s and Impossible Foods’) and lab-grown, companies work with saturated plant-based fats. Cubiq Foods has developed what it calls “smart fat”, a less energetic (fewer calories), sustainable and healthier fat.
Implications of this technology could be big. If Cubiq Foods’ production ramps up correctly, its products (containing a microencapsulated omega-3) could become key ingredients of functional foods in a world where “good fats” are getting more and more attention.