Royal Cosun and Oost NL’s investment in Revyve will allow the company to scale-up production of animal-free ingredients to create texture in food.
Royal Cosun, an international Dutch cooperative and plant-based agri-food company, and Oost NL, the development agency of East Netherlands, have invested €8m in Revyve, a company developing sustainable ingredients to replace E-numbers and animal ingredients in food.
Based in Wageningen, Revyve uses patented technology to extract protein and fibre ingredients from microbial biomass such as brewer’s yeast, which it sources from local Belgian breweries and that would otherwise be used in low value animal feed. It then sells its ingredients to food manufacturers who can use them to create texture in a range of food, including meat analogues (substitutes), fried snacks, pasta, sauces and bakery products.
Revyve’s aim is to create products that can be used in place of animal proteins such as egg white and replace E-numbers such as methyl cellulose, which has been used in meat analogues to replicate the texture of meat.
“Until now, food manufacturers needed to rely on animal-based ingredients and E numbers to create texture,” said Cedric Verstraeten, CEO of Revyve. “At Revyve we have developed a unique process to produce highly functional ingredients from brewer’s yeast. Our ingredients have great gelling, emulsification and foaming functionality which provides a sustainable, clean label and delicious alternative to unlock amazing texture.”
Speaking to Impact Investor, Verstraeten explained that by using upcycled plant-based food ingredients such as spent brewer’s yeast, the process developed by Revyve also carried a low carbon footprint.
“The main reason is that we start with a feedstock – brewer’s yeast – which is a co-product of the brewing industry and which inherently has a low CO2 footprint. Additionally, our proprietary process uses low temperature processing and is very energy efficient,” he said.
The company said a preliminary lifecycle assessment of its ingredients demonstrated a 95% lower CO2 equivalent per kilogramme as compared to egg-white protein.
“Our ingredients also benefit from complete proteins, containing the full range of amino acids, are high in dietary fibre such as beta glucans and mannans, and offer consumers clean and recognisable labelling,” he added.
The company, which launched in 2019 and has raised a total of €13.5m to date, said it would use this latest injection of capital to scale-up production to more than 100 tonnes of ingredients per year in order to enable the launch of multiple commercial products across supermarket shelves for its clients.
“This would be enough for one of our customers to make 25 million plant-based burgers,” added Verstraeten.
Royal Cosun said the investment aligned with its ‘Unlock25’ corporate strategy, which seeks to develop sustainable plant-based solutions for food and ingredients, bio-based non-food applications and sustainable energy. Cosun Protein, a business unit within the company, which itself is developing highly soluble vegetable proteins for use in food and beverage applications, led the investment.
Thijs Bosch, director for Cosun Protein, said: “We look forward to deepening our collaboration with Revyve through our knowledge and expertise as a producer of plant-based protein and other functional ingredients to create sustainable food ingredients for future generations.”
Freek Welling, manager of the Perspectieffonds Gelderland (PFG) fund through which the investment was made, said that as well as investing in innovative companies developing sustainable solutions, Oost NL was committed to stimulating collaboration between academic institutions and companies, which he said was a key factor in the development of the East Netherlands region’s expertise in food technology.
“One of the key strengths of our region is food technology, due in no small part to the presence of Wageningen University and Research (WUR), which has been at the genesis of many spin offs and a magnet for international companies such as Heinz, Unilever and Yili,” said Welling. “Revyve is an example of a company that flourishes in this ecosystem of innovative food companies. Both founders studied at the WUR and the technology Revyve uses originates from the university.”
The investment in Revyve is the second direct investment made through the PFG fund, which targets investments in the province of Gelderland of which Wageningen is one of several regional centres. Investments are focused on innovative companies and projects finding solutions to major societal challenges, including, inter alia, the energy transition, climate adaptation, circular economy, and biodiversity.