CP Kelco partners biotech startup Shiru to produce plant-based food ingredients  

USA — CP Kelco, a global leader of nature-based ingredient solutions, is expanding its plant-based protein capabilities through a new partnership with biotechnology startup Shiru Inc.  

Founded in 2019, Emeryville, Calif.-based Shiru combines a precision fermentation process with machine learning algorithms to discover and create novel plant-based food ingredients.  

Shiru’s discovery platform, Flourish, uses a proprietary database of millions of proteins to find the best functional ingredient for food formulation challenges.  

The startup then uses precision fermentation and high-throughput screening to produce those ingredients and validate their performance. 

Under the partnership, CP Kelco will work with Shiru to accelerate product development for several proteins identified by the Flourish platform. 

 It will leverage its fermentation capabilities to scale up the ingredients and further validate their performance in food prototypes by the end of the year.   

Work has already started to identify novel replacements for methylcellulose, which is used as a gelling agent and emulsifier in products such as plant-based meat alternatives.  

R&D and production teams from both companies already are working together at CP Kelco’s facility in San Diego to support the first prototype runs. 

“CP Kelco has embarked on a strategic initiative focused on alternative proteins and innovation to meet evolving market and consumer needs, now and in the future,” said Robert Dunn, senior marketing director and alternative proteins program lead at CP Kelco. 

 “We’re delighted to partner with innovators like Shiru, not only to further contribute to sustainable development within the food and beverage industry, but also to accelerate our engagement and learning in the alternative proteins space.” 

CP Kelco recently launched a range of natural ingredient solutions to support product development in the fast-growing market of plant-based meat alternatives.  

The range includes clean label ingredient options for formulating plant-based burger and sausage alternatives, while switching out additives like methylcellulose and starch. 

Among the new line is Gellan gum, made by fermentation, is already considered a go-to functional ingredient for solving plant-based protein challenges and is widely used in plant-based, dairy alternative beverages. 

For extra juiciness, CP Kelco’s Genu Pectin MA-50 can be used in combination with Kelcogel MA-60 Gellan Gum or another gelling agent. 

The solution in the range is GenuTexturizer MA-1,  a multifunctional solution that provides juicy texture in both a hot and cold bite. 

The ingredient is a blend of carrageenan, extracted from red seaweed, and methylcellulose, which could present an opportunity for those looking to extend their product line into plant-based sausages. 

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