Since the beginning of mankind, food has been an obvious necessity that supports us, and much like us, continues to evolve. Availability, organoleptic characteristics, and even production has changed radically and will likely continue to change at an accelerated pace. Let’s take a look at what three pioneers, who will be discussing the future of food at the upcoming SynBioBeta SF 2016, have decided to sink their teeth into:
This Danish company enables the production of complex chemical compounds by fermentation through the development of tailored biocatalysis processes. This process can substantially reduce production costs and environmental impact compared to chemical synthesis and other similar processes.
Last year, Biosyntia closed a $1.9M financing round led by one of the largest science investors in their company with the goal of disrupting the vitamin market through bio-based vitamin production. The company’s technology is based on engineering microbes to produce high-value chemicals for food through a directed evolution method called synthetic selection. This platform technology accelerates the selection process by orders of magnitude, while also enabling a very low number of false positives regarding the selection of chemical-producing E. coli colonies.
The company works by partnering with manufacturers of fine chemical compounds such as flavors, pigments, additives and fragrances, thus amplifying their reach and their impact in their quest to create “more sustainable manufacturing processes for a greener tomorrow”.
Clara Foods is developing a novel egg white replacement that promises to deliver increased performance in the shape of lighter cakes and fluffier meringues, while simultaneously generating a smaller footprint by saving water and land in the process. This company is looking to create the world’s first animal-free egg white, as part of their mission to feed a growing seven billion people with a system that overcomes the unsustainable and somewhat archaic factory farm model.
Substitutes and replacements for animal byproducts have been around enough for vegans to rejoice, but Clara Foods is interested not only in taking the chicken completely out of the equation – thus saving us from the moral dilemma of deliciousness versus animal cruelty – but also in generating a functional substitute that can actually perform as well as hen-borne egg whites in preparations difficult enough to please the toughest of chefs, such as angel food cakes and even macarons. This performance is enabled by the company’s proprietary protein functionality matrix that delivers improved volume, foaming, texture and tensile strength, thus promising finger licking great end products with none of the current ethical difficulties.
You may remember this startup as part of IndieBio EU’s class of 2016. MilisBio is a sweet tooth’s dream, promising to satiate our cravings without harming our health by developing sugar substitutes from protein.
The company is developing a platform to identify improved sweet proteins that can act as healthy and nutritious alternatives to sugar and artificial sweeteners. This could mean a significant reduction of diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, while keeping food both nutritious and delicious. The same technology can theoretically be applied to any other flavor, even working backwards to block unwanted flavors such as bitterness in medicines.
Michael Sheehan, MilisBio’s CEO, says the choice of starting with sweetness was a conscious effort to be socially impactful by tackling the global pandemic of obesity and the ever increasing occurrence of heart disease and diabetes. The technology’s potential to be applied to many other flavors will be tackled in the near future. “After production of our protein sweetener,” said Sheehan in a previous interview, “we will be developing other flavors such as a neutral pH sour flavor (protecting teeth and the gastrointestinal tract), umami flavor to replace the dreaded monosodium glutamate, and in time perhaps even the holy grail of flavor: saltiness without salt! Each of these would be of fantastic value to the well-being of our customers.”
Hungry for more? Then be sure to attend SynBioBeta SF 2016 this coming October. The Future of Food will be the first session after the opening keynote and will be held at 10:35 am on October 4th. Prepare yourself for this intellectual amuse bouche, and be sure to save enough room for the rest of this upcoming conference.