Innovation That Matters

Yali Bio aims to replace the fats that give meat its distinctive taste | Photo source Pexels

Producing alternative fats through fermentation

Food & Drink

A startup is working to recreate different fats – from those found in yoghurt and soft cheese to the solid fats in meat and lard

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Spotted: San Francisco-based biotech startup Yali Bio is using fermentation to recreate some of the juicy and satisfying fats often missing in plant-based meat and dairy product substitutes.

The startup uses a process called precision fermentation, where modified microbes are placed in bioreactors and fed different sugars. This produces fat molecules that are very similar to those from animal products.

Yali Bio claims that its products have a much lower carbon footprint than animal fats: “Yali Bio’s fats produce less than 0.5 kilogrammes of CO2 per serving compared to 15 kilogrammes for beef, 4 kilogrammes for pork, and 2 kilogrammes for butter. A well marbled meat consists of 20-25 per cent fats, and so fats that taste good, cook well, and are sustainable are essential for progressing the plant-based sector.”  

The company is still in the research stage of development, but has already raised a total of $5 million (around € 4.58 million ), with a recent seed round of $3.9 million ( around €3.57 million). The funds will be used for further research as well as for building lab space and hiring staff.

In the next decade, the startup aims to produce a variety of highly functional and differentiated fats at scale – ranging from fats in yoghurt and soft cheese to the solid fats in meat and lard. Yali Bio has not shared a potential first commercial product, but plans to develop new prototypes during the next few months.

Other recent food tech innovations spotted by Springwise include a replacement for vegetable oil made using microbes, an egg white alternative made using a fungus, and lab-grown coffee.

Written By: Katrina Lane


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