With Halloween coming up, there’s a chance you might find yourself snacking on some brightly-colored gummy candies (my personal weakness) over the next few weeks. Though the candies may be delicious, the process for making gelatin involves grinding up assorted animal parts and is … not super appetizing.
Maybe in a few years you’ll be able to snack on gummies made from gelatin that’s derived not from animals but from fermentation. San Leandro, California-based company Geltor is currently using microbes to “grow” collagen and its constituent proteins, including gelatin.
The startup raised a $18.2 million Series A round last year and stated a goal of launching its animal-free collagen in the food industry by 2020. According to Food Navigator, yesterday Geltor got one step closer to that goal. The company has partnered with industry collagen maker GELITA to commercialize its animal-free collagen in supplements, like vitamins and skincare products, which will be for sale next year.
Geltor will also launch its animal-free collagen in other verticals too — namely the CPG industry. Referencing the GELITA partnership, Geltor co-founder Alexander Lorestani told Food Navigator: “This is the first step, but we’ll continue to look ahead to the broader food and beverage industry to strike partnership there.”
Geltor is one of a group of Silicon Valley startups making animal product alternatives through fermentation technology — that is, creating new proteins using genetically engineered microbes. Perfect Day makes animal-free dairy and Clara Foods is tackling eggs, starting with egg whites. Motif FoodWorks and Air Protein (formerly Kiverdi) are leveraging fermentation to make a broader range of alternative proteins for food usage.
Geltor may be launching in the supplement industry, but its technology could have a widespread impact in the food space. In fact, a surprising amount of everyday products contain gelatin or collagen, from broths to canned beans to caesar dressing. “We’re building the business to broadly serve the CPG industry,” said Lorestani in the aforementioned article. Which means in a few years, the process to make your gummy candies, not to mention a lot of other staple foods, could be a lot more appetizing.