Ingredion expands protein portfolio with investment in Clara Foods

The San Francisco-based biotech startup has developed a protein production platform from yeast

Photo as seen on Clara Foods website

Ingredion Incorporated is leading the Series B funding round in Clara Foods, a San Francisco-based biotech startup developing a novel fermentation technology to produce animal-free protein replacements from yeast. Details of the investment have not been disclosed.

The announcement comes after four years of Clara Foods quietly developing its protein production platform and raising an unannounced US$15 million Series A led by The Production Board in 2016.

Clara Foods’ proprietary microbial fermentation technology aims to reduce the production and environmental costs of animal proteins.

Global commercial partnership

Launched in 2014, Clara Foods has worked on developing its protein production platform from the onset and now is ready for the commercialisation of its egg proteins, expand R&D capabilities and move into developing other products. ​Currently, its main product is a foamy egg white alternative for baking use.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ingredion will partner with Clara Foods to globally distribute and market multiple proteins derived from yeast that are traditionally found in eggs. These products will augment Ingredion’s portfolio to include highly functional proteins that will produce food and beverages with higher levels of protein and unique characteristics without the inclusion of animal-derived inputs.

“This latest investment will further drive our growth strategy, expand our portfolio of protein solutions and introduce novel ingredients to consumers who are looking for sustainable, animal-free and healthy alternatives,” said Jim Zallie, Ingredion’s President and CEO.

This latest move complements Ingredion’s recent $140m investment to expand its portfolio of plant-based proteins, including pulse flours, concentrates and isolates.

Commenting on the news, Arturo Elizondo, Founder and CEO of Clara Foods, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Ingredion to bring these first ingredients to market and redefine how the world produces animal protein at scale."

Elizondo said Ingredion's global reach across 120 countries and its applications expertise will "dramatically expand Clara’s ability to disrupt the protein market as the world's leading animal-free, animal protein ingredient manufacturer".

“We’re excited to work with Clara Foods. They have pioneered groundbreaking technology that allows for a cost-effective method of producing animal-free proteins with unique and highly functional properties,” said Tony DeLio, Ingredion’s Senior VP Corporate Strategy and Chief Innovation Officer.

“We recognise that animal-free protein is emerging as a trend and we want to offer a full range of solutions that best meet our customers’ needs," he concluded.

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