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Fermentation

Fermentation technology is revolutionizing the future of sustainable food alternatives. Our consulting team provides guidance on traditional, enzymatic, biomass, and precision fermentation methods, driving innovation and excellence in the industry.
Fermentation enables food tech companies to create alternative proteins and fats that rival those in animal products but the road to success comes fraught with challenges. Only the most innovative, fast-thinking, and adaptive companies will thrive.

Our consulting team will help you connect the dots within the fermentation industry so you can confidently navigate the future of meat, seafood, eggs and dairy every step of the way.

Navigating industrial fermentation

Perspective

Dynamic market

The field of fermentation-produced alternative proteins has evolved rapidly over the past few years, from a few large dominating incumbents focused primarily on diary to more than a hundred new companies active in all alternative protein categories popping up across the globe.
CHALLENGE

Early stages

Amid rising competition, mastering precision fermentation is critical, especially facing global scarcity in fermentation capacity. Future leaders must navigate complex regulations and scale challenges, with strategic investments in fermentation infrastructure crucial for advancing the alternative protein sector.
Opportunity

Untapped opportunities

From producing ingredients with better functional qualities to developing tastier and healthier fermentation-based alt proteins, there is immense potential for new and existing players to create and capture a significant market share.

Trusted by Industry Leaders

At the forefront of alternative protein strategy consulting since 2020.
40+
projects 
and counting
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How we help

Strategy
Corporate and business ​
Investment and growth​
Go to market​
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Innovation strategy​
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TARGET SEARCH
OPERATIONAL AND TECHNICAL DUE DILIGENCE
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Corporate venturing
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Strengthen your strategy in the alternative protein landscape with our expert consulting solutions and global network of specialists.
Key topics
Our strategy consulting team is here to advise you in the fermentation industry so you can confidently navigate the future of fermentation every step of the way.
Traditional fermentation
Precision fermentation
Biomass fermentation
Enzymatic fermentation
Ingredient optimization
Functionality
Feedstock optimization
Target molecule selection
Host strain development
Bioprocess design
Labeling
Solid & liquid state
Scaffolding
Fats
Enzymes
Pigments
Filamentous fungi
Mycelium
Tempeh

Fermentation FAQs

What are the different types of fermentation in food processing?

There are three main fermentation types used in the production of alternative proteins:

Traditional fermentation

The oldest of our biotechnology processes, traditional fermentation has been used for millennia by civilizations across the world to produce and preserve food and beverages such as wine and cheese. In the production of alternative proteins, the traditional fermentation process uses microbes to alter the flavor and/or functionality of plant-based ingredients. For example, Better Nature uses this food process to transform soybeans into delicious and more nutritious tempeh.

Biomass fermentation

The answer to the world’s growing demand for animal protein alternatives, biomass fermentation uses microbial biomass itself as a food ingredient. Microorganisms with a high-protein content and the potential to grow rapidly, such as algae and fungi, are encouraged to reproduce and then used to create protein-rich meat and dairy alternatives. Well-known examples include Quorn’s mycoprotein and iwi’s algae-based products.

Precision fermentation

In order to produce specific functional ingredients, precision fermentation uses microorganisms as cell factories; a gene that encodes the target ingredient is inserted into the host-microbe which is then cultivated in a fermentation tank, producing the target in large quantities. The target is subsequently purified and often dried to a powder form for easy addition to alternative meat and dairy products. Examples include Impossible Food’s heme protein burger and MeliBio’s bee-free honey.

Why is fermentation important?

After securing $435m of investment capital in 2020 alone, microbial fermentation is quickly materializing as the third pillar in the alternative protein industry, alongside plant-based and cultivated meat. In fact, the industry as a whole can benefit from the unique advantages provided by the various types of fermentation.

Optimize existing ingredients and products

Traditional fermentation can further refine ingredients we already have readily available, such as waste products and low-value byproducts. This process can optimize numerous factors including nutrition content, digestibility, flavor, and texture.

Efficient and scalable protein production

Fermentation requires simple and inexpensive feedstocks and can be manufactured across a network of localized production facilities, reducing transport costs as well as land and water inputs.

Not only is it less resource intensive, but it is also an incredibly efficient method of producing protein; unlike animal livestock, microbes grow exponentially, doubling in quantity in a matter of hours.

The fermentation of microorganisms occurs in bioreactors, which are space efficient and easy to scale. What’s more, many of the popular species used for biomass fermentation contain more than 50% of dry weight protein; approximately 20% more than chicken and 25% more than beef.

Fermentation products and uses are more sustainable, ethical, and beneficial

The applications of fermentation are widespread, providing benefits from an individual level to advantages for the planet as a whole.

Fermentation products don’t require the farming of animals on an industrial scale. They contain many of the desirable nutrients found in animal products but without the undesirables, such as antibiotics and hormones. Replacing animal-derived proteins will also reduce the likelihood of zoonotic diseases.

In addition to requiring less water and land usage, fewer pollutants and GHG emissions are produced. Furthermore, as the field of fermentation advances further, there are progressively more useful alternative protein products and applications than ever before.

How can we advance fermentation further?

Fermentation may be ancient biotechnology but there remains a lot left to be discovered. Key players in the industry have a number of opportunities across the value chain with which to advance the field.

Many extremophilic bacteria are a prime target for future developments. For example, these can be successfully utilized to mitigate fermentation issues such as microbial contamination, energy consumption, and freshwater shortage. In addition to working with new microorganism strains, further modifications can be made to current lines to increase efficiency or produce new ingredients.

Other opportunities to advance fermentation include the development of new and existing technology, such as improved fermentation incubators and bioreactors, as well as the refinement of nutrient-rich feedstocks to boost bioconversion.

Finally, the range of animal-based products that are yet to spawn alternatives is endless. The precision fermentation market has produced substantial breakthroughs in recent years and there is plenty of space for more to come.

For example, Harmony manufactured the first human breast milk-based infant formula to deliver nutrition much closer to breast milk than any cow’s milk formula, and Melt & Marble can mimic any fat structure, as well as create completely new and better fats, without using any animals.

The possibilities are immense.

Client Feedback
Featured case

Pricing, SKU and customer journey analysis

client: global ingredient producer
Our client reached out to help them assess the competitiveness of their 2 novel ingredients produced through fermentation.
DISCOVER THE LATEST IN FERMENTATION BUSINESS, TECHNOLOGY, AND RESEARCH
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Mycoprotein is making a comeback - will it triumph?
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Latest studies
Plant-based meat manufacturing capacity and pathways for expansion
This study, co-authored with The Good Food Institute, offers a comprehensive analysis of global plant-based meat manufacturing and strategic recommendations for expanding capacity to meet future demand.
Download the report
A corporate guide to alternative protein precision fermentation
This study summarizes the latest developments and opportunities in alternative protein precision fermentation for corporates. It showcases that partnerships are key to success, and highlights a broad spectrum of applications in alternative meat, dairy and egg proteins.
Download the report
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