US food tech company Yali Bio has raised $3.9 million in a seed round, to advance its efforts to develop “designer fats” for plant-based meat and dairy products.
Founded in 2021, Yali Bio is developing proprietary technology that will enable it to create a range of plant-based fats tailored to different applications.
Using precision fermentation and plant-based ingredients, the company will be able to design fats that emulate those derived from animals, for use in meat and dairy alternatives.
Led by Essential Capital, the seed financing will be used to expand Yali Bio’s operations and accelerate its research and development efforts. Other investors included Third Kind Venture Capital, S2G Ventures and CRCM Ventures.
Using synthetic biology, deep learning and genomics tools, Yali Bio aims to produce cultured fats that are more sustainable than the oils currently used in plant-based products, and which overcome technical issues – for example around flavour and melting point.
“Yali Bio is one of the first companies tackling the issue of plant-based fats through precision fermentation,” said Edward Shenderovich, managing partner at Essential Capital.
“We believe there is a substantial market opportunity for better functioning fats with a smaller environmental footprint and we are thrilled to be working with Yali Bio to bring their solutions to bear.”
According to Yali Bio, well-marbled meat consists of 20-25% fats, “so fats that taste good, cook well and are sustainable are essential for progressing the plant-based sector”.
Chuck Templeton, managing partner at S2G Ventures, said: “High-quality fats are currently a major weak point when developing plant-based analogues for animal proteins”.
“We are excited to invest into Yali Bio to improve this crucial component of plant-based products with the goal of enhancing the consumer experience, while reducing the impacts of conventional animal husbandry.”
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