Established in May 2021, Alfred’s FoodTech, Ltd. is working to solve one of the key challenges facing by alt protein players: that of creating whole cuts that mimic their animal-based counterparts in terms of texture, mouthfeel, and flavour.
“Plant-based whole-cut products that resemble meat are the ‘Holy Grail’ of the industry,” according to co-founder and CEO Ronny Reinberg. “With Alfred’s versatile technology, any food company can easily create alternative products that give consumers the exact experience of real meat and poultry.”
Currently, companies in the alt protein space use a variety of technologies to achieve desired fibrous forms, from extrusion to 3D printing, fermentation and scaffold technology. Afred’s platform builds continuous tissue like structures, and as Reinberg explained, can be used alongside other existing technologies.
“It is an altogether new technology to the food industry,” he told this publication. “We called it P.L.A.N.E.T Tech – Protein Layering And Nutrient Embedding Technology. It is a continuous processing of turning an emulsion into a continuous and fibrous tissue form.
“Our innovative technology can be easily integrated with other technologies currently serving the alternative protein scene or food production lines.”
According to Alfred’s, its technology is more scalable, affordable, versatile, and has better protein loading, ‘making it one of the most exciting innovations in the alternative protein space’.
“Its unique features will enable the largest food companies to be able to produce a whole-cut product that is cost effective with the same taste and texture of animal source products.”
One of Alfred’s advantages, according to the start-up, is its ability to minimise ingredients while maintaining high protein. Indeed, the technology has the ability to deliver up to 30% protein content.
All of the ingredients it uses are ‘known’ in their raw form. “We can use various types of proteins such as pea, chickpea, and soy, and it makes no difference to the flavour and texture, because the process masks the interfering attributes of the protein, such as aroma and sandiness,” the CEO explained.
“We use regular oils as well,” he added. Canola oil is one such example. “The nutritional profile is versatile and can mimic the exact profile of fats and protein as the animal product. We give our partners the freedom to choose what ingredients they want to use and make our recipe accordingly.”
The technology can scale up outputs quickly, and the company has plans to set up a low-volume production site to serve initial market demand.
Alfred’s has already produced prototypes of deli meat and chicken nugget analogues, and plans to partner with both plant-based and cell-based companies – the latter to help develop plant-based protein and cell-based hybrids.
“We are meeting cell-based companies to work with us to find out how we can incorporate their cells into our texturised products,” the CEO revealed.
“Most of the cell-based companies have moved away from trying to create a whole piece of meat on a scaffold and are working on a single component, such as fat or muscle cells. In the future, we can use those cells to enhance the flavour to create the holy grail of the alternative protein industry.”
Alfred’s has raised $1.3m in seed funding and is now entering an A-round stage. The start-up expects the first products developed using its P.L.A.N.E.T technology to reach the market in 2023.