Layoffs at Motif FoodWorks: ‘We’re pivoting our focus to key priorities that we know will return maximum ROI’

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: Webb Chappell
Image credit: Webb Chappell

Related tags: Motif Foodworks, heme, HEMAMI, myoglobin, plant-based meat, Meat alternatives, Plant-based foods

Boston-based foodtech firm Motif FoodWorks – which has raised $345m since spinning off from synthetic biology firm Ginkgo BioWorks in February 2019 – has just engaged in a round of layoffs, FoodNavigator-USA understands.

A spokesperson would not confirm how many people had been laid off at the firm during a recent restructuring, but added: “Given the current economic conditions, we’re pivoting our focus to key priorities that we know will return maximum ROI for our customers and investors.

“As a result, we will tighten our employee base in some areas. Meanwhile, we will invest in our priority areas related to our food-tech and finished products where we’re experiencing strong demand.”

High-impact ingredients for meat and dairy alternatives

Led by CEO Jonathan McIntyre, a former SVP of R&D at PepsiCo, and CTO Dr Mike Leonard (CCO Michele Fite left earlier this year), Motif​ ​currently operates out of a facility in Boston’s Innovation and Design Building and has plans to open a new R&D center in Northborough, MA, by the end of this year.

Its first ingredient, HEMAMI ​myoglobin - a heme-binding protein found in the muscle tissue of cows, which Motif is making via a genetically engineered yeast strain in fermentation tanks - is claimed to deliver the “flavor and aroma of real meat​,” and was launched late last year.

Its second commercial ingredient - a texturizing technology called APPETEX​​ launching later this year – is a hydrogel combining plant-based proteins and carbohydrates that Motif claims can replicate the "springiness, juiciness and bite associated with animal-based connective tissue​.”

Following a collaboration with leading lipids researcher Dr. Alejandro Marangoni, founder of Coasun, Inc, and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Motif​ has also acquired exclusive access to​ technologies designed to address two key challenges in plant-based formulations: 

Prolamin technology​​ (licensed from the University of Guelph): Using corn proteins that enable plant-based cheese to "melt, bubble, and stretch."​​

Extrudable fat technology ​​(acquired from Coasun): Oleogel technology that replicates animal fat, allowing for more authentic fat textures, such as marbling, in plant-based meats.

The spokesperson told us work in both is continuing apace, adding: "Our corn prolamin cheese technology has made some great strides and has received a lot of interest."

Finished products: MoBeef, MoPork, MoChicken

Separately, Motif is also developing finished products utilizing HEMAMI and APPETEX for foodservice providers, distributors, and retailers with private labels, a move that has brought it into conflict with plant-based meat company Impossible Foods, which recently accused Motif of patent infringement​ in a lawsuit described by Motif as a “baseless attempt to stifle competition​.”​​

Motif food works finished products

Finished meat alternative products in development by Motif FoodWorks include Motif MoBeef​ Plant-Based Burger Patties (available now), Motif MoBeef Plant-Based Ground and Motif MoPork​ (arriving later this year) and Motif MoChicken​ (available in 2023).

According to the USPTO, Motif FoodWorks has also filed trademark applications​ for MoMilk, MoCheese, and MoFish.

Image credit: Motif FoodWorks

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Pectin's

Pectin's "a-peeling" future

Cargill | 08-Aug-2022 | Technical / White Paper

Familiar, plant-based, highly functional… today's pectin ticks off a lot of boxes for consumers and product developers alike. Learn how this humble...

Sustainable sweetness

Sustainable sweetness

Cargill | 04-Aug-2022 | Insight Guide

According to proprietary Cargill research, more than half of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase a product if it includes a sustainability...

Adding value as your partner in oils.

Adding value as your partner in oils.

ADM | 27-Jul-2022 | Infographic

Download our new oils infographic and learn how ADM’s value added services can help you overcome many of the daily challenges you face. From reducing risks...

Hemp Seed Protein for Meat Analogues

Hemp Seed Protein for Meat Analogues

Applied Food Sciences | 28-Jun-2022 | Technical / White Paper

Adopting a flexitarian lifestyle is more accessible today than ever, thanks to the rapid rate of product development for plant-based meat options. To help...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars