Food tech companies in Europe are striving to change how food is made to bring us closer to a more sustainable future. Here are some of the top companies you’ll find in this field.
Food doesn’t just keep us alive, it is part of our culture and our daily routine, and it plays a key role in our health. However, as the world’s population gets closer and closer to the 10 billion mark, it is becoming evident that we need to change how food is produced to be able to feed the world in an environmentally friendly way.
Early biotechnology revolutionized food thousands of years ago, when humans started getting help from microorganisms to make beer, wine and cheese. Today, it has again become a way to reimagine food in order to make it healthier and more sustainable. These are the top food tech companies in Europe making that dream a reality.
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Evolva produces natural food ingredients through yeast fermentation. Its flagship product is a stevia sweetener that, unlike those extracted from the plant, does not have a bitter aftertaste. The company is able to produce large quantities of sweetener compounds naturally present in stevia plants, but at such low concentrations that it would be extremely expensive to extract from the plant for use on a large scale.
Evolva also uses fermentation technology to produce natural compounds with orange, vanilla, and grapefruit flavors. This provides a greener alternative to the petrochemical processes often used to obtain these flavorings.
Location: Libourne, France
Fermentalg uses algae to produce omega-3 supplements. This compound is known to prevent cardiovascular disease, but its consumption is very low in most modern diets. The company also uses the algae to produce blue food coloring, and is working on a design for algae columns that can be placed in a city to clean the air from carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
Location: Maastricht, Netherlands
Mosa Meat was founded by Mark Post, the first scientist to ever grow meat in a lab without the animal. The aim of this food tech company is to produce and sell this ‘cultured meat’ on an industrial scale, helping reduce the huge impact that farming has on the environment, especially raising cattle. The first product will be a beef burger that is expected to launch in 2021.
Location: Granada, Spain
This biotech company makes use of soil bacteria to boost the growth of crops and protect them from infections. In particular, the company uses an extremophile microorganism that is able to live in soils with high levels of salt. These live biostimulants could provide a more sustainable alternative to the use of aggressive fungal pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in agriculture.
Location: Norwich, UK
This food tech company makes use of gene editing technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 to enhance tropical crops. Tropic Biosciences is developing a new variety of coffee bean that is naturally decaffeinated, which could yield much more flavorful decaf drinks by avoiding the harsh processes used today to remove caffeine. The company is also working on growing bananas that are resistant to fungal and bacterial infections.
Location: Cambridge, UK
Sugar is a ubiquitous ingredient that contributes to the rising epidemic of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. While there are many alternatives today for sugary drinks, sweeteners cannot replicate the texture needed for solid foods such as cakes. Stem! Sugar aims to end that with a compound extracted from plants that has a molecular structure similar to sugar and thus has a similar texture and is able to caramelize and crystalize in the same way. The company is aiming to enter the baking market first, using its product in foods such as low-sugar biscuits.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Solar Foods aims to produce food from water and carbon dioxide. The company uses electricity to split water molecules and feeds bacteria with the mix, which produce a protein-rich powder that the company plans to develop as a meat alternative. Solar Foods is also collaborating with the European Space Agency to use this technology as a way to produce food for long-distance space missions.
Location: Glasgow, UK
3F Bio is developing an industrial process to produce protein-rich food with zero waste. To do so, the company integrates two different biological processes. Cereal crops are used in a bioethanol biorefinery to obtain fuel as well as feedstock material that is then fermented to produce mycoprotein. A source of protein and fibre, mycoprotein has been gaining recognition as an alternative to meat as well as an additive thanks to a fibrous texture that resembles that of meat. With a €17M grant from the EU, the company will soon be building an industrial plant in Ghent, Belgium.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Cubiq Foods is working on a process to make animal fat without the actual animal. Animal fats are used in the making of processed foods such as cakes, cookies, pizzas, snacks, burgers, nuggets and meat substitutes. Removing the animals from the equation would make the process more environmentally friendly. In addition, these fats could be tailored to contain more essential fats such as omega 3, which can protect from cardiovascular disease. The startup company has raised €12M and is aiming to launch its first product in 2020.
Location: Rheinbreitbach, Germany
Jennewein Biotechnologie focuses on the production of human milk oligosaccharides. These molecules found in human milk are not digested, but they are known to have important health benefits, such as reducing the risk of infection and inflammation in babies, as well as playing a role in the establishment of a healthy microbiome. The company produces and sells these molecules to be used as active ingredients in functional foods, as well as in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.