Chr. Hansen joins MISTA to accelerate its fermented plant-based solutions

DENMARK – Chr. Hansen has joined MISTA, a California-based start-up optimizer focusing on the development of sustainable, innovative foods, to accelerate development of its fermented plant-based solutions.

With this collaboration, Chr. Hansen said that it is well positioned to bring to the market fermented plant-based solutions that help customers match this trend, and help create a sustainable and resilient global food system that can feed a growing population.

Consumers are currently looking for experiences that provide the same health and delicious taste profile as associated with traditional dairy products.

Driven by a global focus and concern for sustainable food production, Chr. Hansen underscored the importance of fermented plant-based foods – an industry that is evolving rapidly – in offering excellent options.

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The company highlights that the plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to more mainstream as consumers all over the world are enjoying the innovative options for a flexitarian or plant-based diet.

In the past 12 months, 160 new brands of fermented plant-based foods have been launched. In the US, plant-based milks now account for more than 10% of the volume of drinking milks.

Co-creating solutions for a healthier planet

MISTA brings together the power and expertise of large companies operating in different segments of the value chain, and the agility and fast-paced innovation spirit of start-ups.

The MISTA premises in San Francisco house a test kitchen, pilot scale production and laboratory facilities, as well as office and function space.

Chr. Hansen said that it will invest in fermentation capability including equipment and application staff on site to run collaborative projects and to conduct its own internal research.

Ross Crittenden, senior director Commercial Development for Plant-based Dairy Alternatives at Chr. Hansen explains that the company’s foray represents a bold new approach to exploring close-to-market innovation using a tailored ecosystem.

“It will allow us to participate in building new ideas with innovative start-ups whilst leveraging the power of large and established ingredient and end-product developers,” Ross Crittenden says.

“This will accelerate the innovation, and also increase the chance of success, since all parties are working together for the same goal – ultimately co-creating solutions that address the health and wellness of both people and the planet.”

Rapid prototyping of sustainable, innovative foods

MISTA provides a platform for rapid and focused innovation with an in-built path for commercialization.

Crittenden adds that the application work will be plugged into Chr. Hansen’s global network of application centers to ensure efficient dissemination of learnings both ways.

According to Crittenden, the partnership with MITSA will also give the company an opportunity to run rapid prototyping directly with potential customers in collaboration with best-in-class ingredient suppliers.

“Working closely with the other partners will help us to accelerate our research, and ultimately our product development, within the exciting space of fermented plant-based,” Crittenden adds.

While Chr. Hansen already has a number of solutions in this category, the company said that it is keen to offer even more options to its customers and looks forward to supporting the other members’ aims of developing more solutions.

Chr. Hansen now joins world-class food players such Givaudan, Danone, Ingredion and Mars, to work with a selected cohort of around 20 start-up companies.

The company will also collaborate with a range of service partners, venture financers and renowned universities such as UC Davis and UC Berkeley.

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