Phytolon, which uses fermentation to create plant-based food colorings, announced today that it has raised $4.1 million in funding. Millennium Food-Tech, EIT Food, Consensus Business Group, The Trendlines Group, Yossi Ackerman and the Israel Innovation Authority participated in the round.
Founded in 2018 and based in Misgav, Israel, Phytolon wants to change up the food coloring space by replacing the artificial and synthetic materials used in the process with natural ingredients. Phytolon does this via a technology the company license through the Wiezmann Institute of Science that uses the fermentation of yeast. The Phytolon website didn’t provide much detail on the technology, but claims its approach is environmentally sustainable, GMO-free, and offers a wide color spectrum across a number of food applications.
While we may not know all the specifics around Phytolon’s technology, we do know that fermentation is hot right now. Perfect Day is fermenting yeast to make non-animal dairy proteins. Both Mushlabs and Emergy Foods are fermenting mushrooms to create alternative meats. And Solar Foods is using gas fermentation to create protein out of air.
Phytolon is also not the only company creating food coloring via fermentation. Michroma is created dyes through fermentation of mushroom roots.
One of the side effects of the COVID pandemic is more people re-evaulating what foods they consume. Given that many food dyes on the market are made from petroleum because they create more vibrant colors, the market seems ripe for a more natural and less chemical-y solution to the food color spectrum.
Phytolon has recently conducted proof-of-concept experiments at production lines with different food companies. The company says it will use its new funding to help get its product reach the market.