Swiss flavor manufacturer Givaudan recently announced plans to open a new Cultured Food Innovation Hub by 2022. This is the latest in a flurry of new initiatives that suggest the company is positioning itself as a major player in the alternative protein industry.
Givaudan and its partners hope to support cell-cultured protein startups as they perform research and development and bring new products to market. At the Innovation Hub, startups will have access to cell-culture and bio-fermentation equipment, as well as a product development laboratory.
With many countries awaiting regulatory decisions for cell-cultured products, Givaudan appears to be anticipating a growing demand for business-to-business services in the industry. The company already partners with plant-based meat and dairy startups to develop, prototype, and test products. This foray into cultivated protein territory means they’ll stay on the cutting edge as cell-culture products make their debuts.
The facility will be built outside of Zurich, and will be owned in partnership with plant equipment manufacturer Bühler and retail food giant Migros—a partnership that’s interesting in its own right. Pooling their ranges of expertise, the companies should be able to offer comprehensive, turnkey services to would-be cell-cultured meat manufacturers. Fabio Campanile, Givaudan’s Global Head of Science and Technology, Taste & Wellbeing, commented on the partnership in a recent press release:
“Bühler contributes with industry-leading solutions that are used in the scale-up and production of thousands of food products around the world; Givaudan brings in centuries of experience and knowledge in every aspect of taste, including all kinds of meat alternatives, and deep expertise in biotechnology, to product development; Migros is known for its competence in customer interaction and market cultivation.”
Givaudan has also been keeping busy with its own research and development efforts, working on producing sustainable flavor ingredients for alternative meats and other products. Last month, The Spoon reported on Givaudan and Ginkgo Bioworks’ joint effort to develop new flavor and fragrance ingredients through bio-fermentation. More recently, the company announced another partnership with Danish biotech company Biosyntia—this one focused on transforming natural sugars into flavoring agents.
We may see more companies from outside of the alternative protein industry take an interest in cell-cultured meat. German life sciences and electronics manufacturer Merck KGaA is now offering technology solutions (from process design to growth medium formulation) for cell-cultured manufacturers. These big-name partners should help smaller startups to bring their products to market more quickly.