Sweden: Melt&Marble creates non-animal fat and raises €5m

Financing was led by Lever VC, with participation from Be8 Ventures, Good Startup, Nordic Foodtech VC, PINC and Chalmers Ventures.

Gothenburg-based Melt&Marble, which uses precision fermentation to produce customised fats for the plant-based sector, has created a non-animal fat with the properties of beef fat.

The company has also secured €5 million in seed financing led by Lever VC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on innovative technologies and brands in the alternative protein space, with participation from new investors Be8 Ventures and Good Startup, as well as existing investors Nordic Foodtech VC, PINC (Paulig’s venture arm) and Chalmers Ventures. 

The company stated that its precision fermentation platform enables it to create customised fats with molecular properties mirroring those of animal fats, allowing for ingredients that deliver the flavour, melt and mouthfeel of real animal fat.

Melt&Marble’s co-founder and chief executive Dr Anastasia Krivoruchko said: “While most people accept that we must minimise our consumption of animal-based foods, plant-based alternatives face a big hurdle. The plant-based fats currently used simply do not feel, act and taste like animal-based fats. As a result, the food does not taste as good, making it less attractive to consumers.

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first beef-like fat prototype produced via precision fermentation. It is a groundbreaking step towards making plant-based meat tastier. Tests conducted on the company’s latest prototype show it displays the gradual melting behaviour of beef fat, an important property for achieving slow flavour release and lingering juiciness. So much is happening in this field, and we are immensely proud to help with the transition towards more environmentally friendly food production.”

Melt&Marble’s technology platform was spun out from research work conducted over the past decade by co-founders Krivoruchko, Dr Florian David and Professor Jens Nielsen at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

The company stated that the funding round will be used to move toward commercialisation by expanding R&D efforts, scaling up production, conducting extensive application tests and expanding the team. Melt&Marble added it is actively recruiting bioprocess and microbial engineers, in addition to a head of food science to grow its food technology team.

James Caffyn, partner at Lever VC said: “Melt&Marble’s fermentation-derived beef fat will facilitate the step change in product quality that companies in the space have been striving for, increasing the size of their addressable markets and accelerating consumer uptake. We have been hugely impressed by the progress Dr Krivoruchko and her team have made and are excited to support them in their growth.”