March 3, 2023
Boston-based Motif FoodWorks is a food technology company now partnering with IngredientWerks, an ag-tech ingredient company developing high value plant-based proteins for alternative protein markets. The two companies will explore ways to optimize heme protein production through molecular farming.
IngredientWerks, which recently completed its seed funding round, specializes in molecular farming and crop protein production to enable plants as factories to produce high value proteins. The company uses a proprietary crop protein production system that is a sustainable, cost-effective way of scaling up alternative proteins globally.
Motif's debut ingredient is HEMAMI, which gives plant-based meats the same meaty flavor and aroma as their animal-derived counterparts. It is made with precision fermentation technology.
This has encouraged innovators like Motif to expand their technology portfolio approach to grow with scale and keep operating costs under control. When evaluating long-term solutions, Motif and IngredientWerks spoke to determine the viability of molecular farming as an additional technology solution for ingredient production.
"Precision fermentation is an incredible process that allows us to create breakthrough ingredients without using animals," said Michael Leonard, CEO of Motif FoodWorks. "As we continue to grow our business, we're exploring multiple solutions to expand our production capabilities. Leveraging molecular farming and crop-based protein production to produce our ingredients could be a critical addition to our toolbox of approaches and allow us to leverage the right solution at the right time to create the next generation of food."
With broad acre crops like corn, IngredientWerks will set out to produce Motif's HEMAMI, which is bioidentical to the bovine myoglobin heme protein found in beef. Through this partnership, the two have begun an exploratory study aimed at recreating Motif's bovine myoglobin in corn. If successful, enabling crop protein production for use in Motif's ingredient strategy will lower both production costs and the carbon footprint created by manufacturing the ingredient.
"We recognize that companies developing alternative proteins through large-scale manufacture may face capacity challenges," said Matt Plavan, CEO of IngredientWerks. "The alternative protein industry has the potential to build an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective supply chain capable of closing the parity gap. I look forward to continuing to work together with Motif to create a growing ecosystem."
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