Tech Goes Bio: Startups replicate fav foods in labs

Global Business

Technology has transformed the way we communicate, work, and entertain. Many believe it could also change what we eat.

Indie.Bio accelerator seeks to literally change the building blocks of your diet.

CCTV America’s Mark Niu reports from San Francisco.

Tech Goes Bio: Startups replicate fav foods in labs

Technology has transformed the way we communicate, work, and entertain. Many believe it could also change what we eat. Indie.Bio accelerator seeks to literally change the building blocks of your diet. There is standing room only at Indie.Bio's demo day, where 30 biotech companies take the leap from scientists to startup entrepreneurs. One promising area is food. Several months ago we visited Indie.Bio's lab, where scientists from New Wave Foods were using algae ingredients to replicate shrimp. "So we actually received an email from Google saying they are looking to reduce the amount of shrimp they are serving on their menu due to all the sustainability reasons and they asked us if we could be a suitable alternative," Dominique Barnes, co-founder and CEO, New Wave Foods, said. "So we took samples to their executive chef and he really loved the product and placed an order on the spot." That order was for 90 kilograms of product, enough to keep the team busy and to allow them to hire more staff. And just around the corner is Gelzen, a startup that brews its own animal-free gelatin, which can be used in everything from Gummy Bears to yogurt, or even products we've yet to taste. "We can also tune it so people can make brand new things, we're not limited by nature, we're not limited by the sort of properties you can extract from the skin of a cow or the bones of a pig. We can make fundamentally new things," Alex Lorestani, co-founder and CEO, Gelzen, said. Memphis Meats took another groundbreaking approach by extracting cells from meat, cultivating them, and then adding nutrients to produce everything from sausage, meatballs and burgers. The startup's founder asked those who call his products 'frankenfood' to look closer at the food they eat today. "Because for the chickens to grow 6-7 times faster than they would normally grow, or even think about thousands of pigs packed in a waste filled barn, pumping them with antibiotics, there is nothing natural about the meat we are eating now," Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO, Memphis Meats, said. "Our cells are going into meat without any of the chemicals or antibiotics that are typically on our plate." Valeti also asked consumers whether they'd rather visit a slaughterhouse or see how Memphis Meats makes their food in a clean lab. It is still early days for all of these food startups as they continue to fine tune their recipes, in search of the perfect combination of nutrition, texture, and taste.

There is standing room only at Indie.Bio’s demo day, where 30 biotech companies take the leap from scientists to startup entrepreneurs. One promising area is food.

Several months ago we visited Indie.Bio’s lab, where scientists from New Wave Foods were using algae ingredients to replicate shrimp.

“So we actually received an email from Google saying they are looking to reduce the amount of shrimp they are serving on their menu due to all the sustainability reasons and they asked us if we could be a suitable alternative,” Dominique Barnes, co-founder and CEO, New Wave Foods, said. “So we took samples to their executive chef and he really loved the product and placed an order on the spot.”

That order was for 90 kilograms of product, enough to keep the team busy and to allow them to hire more staff.

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And just around the corner is Gelzen, a startup that brews its own animal-free gelatin, which can be used in everything from Gummy Bears to yogurt, or even products we’ve yet to taste.

“We can also tune it so people can make brand new things, we’re not limited by nature, we’re not limited by the sort of properties you can extract from the skin of a cow or the bones of a pig. We can make fundamentally new things,” Alex Lorestani, co-founder and CEO, Gelzen, said.

Memphis Meats took another groundbreaking approach by extracting cells from meat, cultivating them, and then adding nutrients to produce everything from sausage, meatballs and burgers.

The startup’s founder asked those who call his products ‘frankenfood’ to look closer at the food they eat today.

“Because for the chickens to grow 6-7 times faster than they would normally grow, or even think about thousands of pigs packed in a waste filled barn, pumping them with antibiotics, there is nothing natural about the meat we are eating now,” Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO, Memphis Meats, said. “Our cells are going into meat without any of the chemicals or antibiotics that are typically on our plate.”

Valeti also asked consumers whether they’d rather visit a slaughterhouse or see how Memphis Meats makes their food in a clean lab.

It is still early days for all of these food startups as they continue to fine tune their recipes, in search of the perfect combination of nutrition, texture, and taste.