The Israeli biotech start-up has raised $4.1 million in funding from investors and is conducting proof of concept trials at production lines of big food companies
Phytolon co-founders
L-R: Phytolon co-founders, Dr Halim Jubran, chief executive, and Dr Tal Zeltzer, chief technology officer

Israeli Phytolon, a portfolio company of The Trendlines, has secured $4.1 million in funding for its fermentation-based technology for the production of plant-based food colours. Other investors in the round were Millennium Food-Tech, a new R&D partnership dedicated to investing in food-tech companies, EIT Food, Consensus Business Group of British businessman Vincent Tchenguiz, Yossi Ackerman, former president and chief executive of Elbit Systems, and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The company was founded in 2018 based on licensed technology through the Weizmann Institute of Science. The company leverages a proprietary, fermentation-based technology to produce plant-based food colours.

Phytolon chief executive, Dr Halim Jubran, said: “This round will enable us to reach the market with our healthy and sustainable food colours that offer high quality and cost-efficient solution to the food industry. The new round will also promote collaborations with potential clients, with whom we have been in communications during the past year and a half.”

Phytolon said it is conducting proof of concept experiments of their product’s performance at production lines of leading players at the food industry.

The company claims to use current scientific advancements to bring biotechnology-based, natural, high-quality food colours to the market in a cost-effective manner for the benefit of better human health and environmental sustainability.

Phytolon: New natural colours

The need for new natural food colours is increasing due to growing consumer awareness and demands for healthier food colours to replace the synthetics that may have adverse effects on people’s health.

The lack of reliable natural alternatives produced to quality and cost-efficiency standards has made the use of natural food colours a significant challenge for the food industry. The food colour market reached $2.85 billion in 2019, with an annual growth rate of 5.8%, where natural colours comprise 69% of the market.

Barak Singer, chief executive of Trendlines Incubators Israel, said: “We are extremely pleased that the company, managed by Dr Halim Jubran, secured this over-subscribed round in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to the commercialisation of its technology to provide healthier, more ecological and cost-effective colouring to the food technology market.”

Chanan Schneider, chief executive of Millennium Food-Tech, added: “It is clear to us that consumers are looking for products with more natural and healthier ingredients and are even willing to pay a premium for them. Phytolon brings a patented solution, perfect for the food colour sector, and has garnered a lot of interest in its technology and products.”

Date published: 17 September 2020

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