Dutch alternative protein startup The Protein Brewery raises funding for further expansion

NETHERLANDS – Dutch alternative protein startup, The Protein Brewery has raised €22 million (about US$25.71 million) in a funding round led by Novo Holdings.

The funding comes at a time when the startup is gearing towards achieving its aim to deliver sustainable, nutritious and affordable animal-free protein with its fermentation technology.

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With the capital, the start-up will be able to continue its research and development, and scale up the production of its Fermotein food ingredient with a new plant for commercialisation.

Based in the Netherlands, The Protein Brewery was founded in January 2020, resulting from a demerger of Bioscienz, a company that develops new technologies based on microbial fermentation. 

The company’s production technology combines its proprietary microorganisms with a brewing process, which reportedly results in a food ingredient with an ‘excellent’ nutritional profile and an amino acid composition similar to conventional meat.

According to the start-up, its Fermotein ingredient will be available in both wet ‘cake’ product that can be used in applications such as meat alternatives, as well as a dry powder form that can be used in pasta, bakery products, protein bars and ice cream.

The application process for the ingredient is already underway in the US and European market, and is anticipated to receive regulatory approval in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Fermotein can be produced from a variety of crops such as cassava, corn, potatoes, sugar beet and sugar cane.

The start-up says this enables commercialisation around the globe with local production offering a sustainable protein option. 

Thomas Grotkjær, principal at Novo Holdings, said: “The Fermotein product is nutritious, has a very sustainable profile, and is applicable to a wide range of products demanded by consumers. With this product, the company is entering a fast-growing alternative proteins market.”

Demand for plant-based protein is increasing as consumers preferences shift to a more nutritional diet centered sustainable lifestyle that is comprised of lower dependency on animal proteins.

The global plant-based protein market size is for instance, projected to grow from UUS$10.3 billion in 2020 to US$14.5 billion by 2025, in terms of value, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1% during the forecast period.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a profound impact on the plant-based protein market. consumers began adopting plant-based alternatives in response to shortages in meat supply, resulting in a sales surge of over 500% for meat alternative brands.

Wim de Laat, founder of The Protein Brewery says: “It is an important driver in our mission to contribute to a more sustainable world, developing novel ways of producing food proteins using fermentation technologies”.

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