Startup Spotlight

Nourish Ingredients expands in animal-free specialty fats with Creamilux for dairy

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

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Nourish Ingredients, a pioneer in the emerging ‘animal-free’ speciality fat segment, is expanding into non-dairy with the debut of Creamilux – a low-inclusion lipid that recreates the rich, creamy mouthfeel, taste and emulsification properties of dairy fat using precision-fermentation instead of cows.

At Future Food Tech in San Francisco, the startup showcased the diverse application and dramatic impact of the lipid alongside that of its previously debuted “animalic” plant-based fat Tastilux, both of which address long-standing taste, texture and nutrition concerns that have limited consumer acceptance of plant-based products.

“Over the last few years, there has been so much trying of [plant-based] foods. Unfortunately, people do not keep coming back. And that is because the foods are not yet good enough. That is in large part down to the fact that we tell them they are going to get an authentic experience, and they do not get it,” Nourish Ingredients CEO James Petrie said.

He explained many plant-based products are not as rich or complex as their animal counterparts, which can deliver a juicy, moist, creamy or full-mouth feel thanks in large part to their inherent fats that often are more flavorful and have different functional benefits than common plant-based fats and oils.

To overcome this challenge, Nourish is recreating meat and dairy fats without the animal by using precision fermentation and fungal strains that replicate key molecules found across animal fats.

“When we look at, say, meat fat, we tend to simplify it in our mind, because it is just a homogenous blob. But when you start to pull it apart chemically, it is really interesting and that falls apart into many different categories. Some of those types of fats are very plant-like and some of those fats are very animal-like, and from a production perspective we do not want to be spending money making a plant fat or plant-type fat by precision fermentation, because it is very expensive. What we want to be doing is focusing on the really valuable animal-types of fat that make a real difference to taste,” he explained.

After identifying common elements from uncooked meat across species, Nourish found fungal strains that naturally produce the same types of fats to create an animal-free yet “animalic” tasting fat, which it dubbed Tastilux.

It then repeated the process to create Creamilux – an animal-free fat for the dairy market, which Petrie said could leap-frog the potential of Tastilux given the size and need of the dairy market.

He added Creamilux carefully targets endpoint applications, including mouthfeel and flavor.

Low-inclusion lipids offer outsized benefits

As noted, both Creamilux and Tastilux are low-inclusion lipids, which means while they have a big impact on taste and texture, they do not have a big impact on budgets or nutrition. Nor do they require massive production capacity. In addition, they could help lower costs and clean up labels by reducing the need for other additives, flavors and emulsifiers.

Nourish included only 1% of Creamilux in a vegan chocolate that it sampled at the conference, but several attendees commented on how the chocolate with the ingredient lingered longer and offered a more full-mouth experience.

Because Creamilux and Tastilux offer such rich, complex flavor notes, they can replace other ingredients in final products, including yeast extracts, flavors and other additives, creating a cleaner label, Petrie said.

With a target date to bring these ingredients to market in 2025, Petrie said Nourish is working with a “small number of very deep partnerships,” which will allow it to tailor the fats to consumers’ specific requirements. It also announced a fundraise round at Future Food Tech in San Francisco, where Petrie called out the “massive difference to the quality” that Nourish Ingredients' fats can add not only to plant-based products but conventional animal products as well.

Petrie also touted a strong pipeline of additional ingredients to come as well as “good partners” who are already on board with the fundraise.

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