Animal-free protein producer Clara Foods has announced collaboration with global investment and innovation group ZX Ventures. The partnership will work on scaling precision fermentation to produce more animal-free egg proteins. ZX Ventures is the global investment and innovation group of AB InBev, which has decades of experience in scaled food-grade fermentation. While the technology was originally developed to brew beer, the company is now exploring its other applications.
It’s hoped that the partnership will allow Clara Foods to develop animal-free egg proteins in “a scalable, sustainable and economically viable manner”. Last year, vegan eggs were the fastest-growing plant-based product segment, with Just Egg outselling Beyond Meat and Oatly. Clara Foods partnered with Ingredion back in 2019 to produce plant-based eggs, before launching chicken-free egg whites last year. It has also recently developed vegan pepsin.
“Humanity needs solutions that match the scale and urgency of our problems,” said Arturo Elizondo, CEO and co-founder of Clara Foods. “Since day one, Clara has been on a mission to accelerate the world’s transition to animal-free protein, starting with the egg. More than one trillion eggs are consumed globally every year and corporate commitments for cage-free aren’t enough? We’re thrilled to be partnering with the world’s largest fermentation company to work together to enable a kinder, greener, and more delicious future.”
Through the partnership, the companies aim to explore the development of sustainable, animal-free egg protein ‘brewed’ on a large scale, in order to address global food challenges. The R&D partnership will draw on AB InBev’s expertise in scaled, food-grade fermentation and downstream processing from its large-scale brewing process. Meanwhile, Clara Foods will lend its technology knowledge in animal-free, performance proteins.
As part of the research, Clara Foods will work with BioBrew a technology platform venture in ZX Ventures that is exploring opportunities to apply large-scale fermentation and downstream processing expertise beyond beer. “Meeting the increased demand for food requires breakthrough solutions built on collaboration and innovation that spans several industry domains both old and new. The ancient and natural process of fermentation can be further harnessed to help meet future demands in our global food system,” said Patrick O’Riordan, founder and CEO at BioBrew.