CP Kelco, a nature-based ingredient solutions company, and food ingredient startup Shiru, Inc. announced a new partnership to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system through the discovery and development of next-generation, plant-based proteins using precision fermentation technology.
Shiru's discovery platform Flourish™ uses computational biology to interrogate their proprietary database of hundreds of millions of proteins to find the best functional ingredients for every food formulation challenge. Using precision fermentation and high-throughput screening, Shiru produces these ingredients and validates their performance in food. The objective is to enable food companies to make delicious, nutritious, and sustainable foods with a small fraction of the environmental footprint of conventional, animal-derived foods.
Together, Shiru and CP Kelco will accelerate product development for several proteins identified by the Flourish™ platform. CP Kelco will perform scale-up of these proteins with its fermentation capabilities and further validate the performance of the Shiru proteins in food prototypes by the end of this year.
The first promising candidates for the Shiru-CP Kelco partnership include novel replacements for methylcellulose, a chemical compound used as a gelling agent and emulsifier in food products such as plant-based meat alternatives.
"Shiru is developing a range of functional ingredients that enable food manufacturers to reduce their environmental footprint quickly and efficiently – without compromising on functionality, taste, or nutrition," said Shiru CEO and founder Dr. Jasmin Hume. "We look forward to a long and productive partnership with CP Kelco – and with all companies that strive to make our food system sustainable and robust."
For approximately 90 years, CP Kelco has collaborated with many of the world's leading food and beverage manufacturers to formulate innovative products that meet key texture and stability requirements while addressing consumer needs and preferences, such as a simple, clean ingredient label. The company recently launched a range of nature-based ingredient solutions for today's plant-based meat alternative product developers.
"CP Kelco has embarked on a strategic initiative focused on alternative proteins and innovation to meet evolving market and consumer needs, now and in the future," said Robert Dunn, senior marketing director and alternative proteins program lead at CP Kelco. "We're delighted to partner with innovators like Shiru, not only to further contribute to sustainable development within the food & beverage industry, but also to accelerate our engagement and learning in the alternative proteins space."
"Our fermentation technology expertise and operational infrastructure are uniquely suited to working hand-in-hand with Shiru to achieve our shared goals," added Steve Matzke, senior manager of pioneering innovation at CP Kelco.
R&D and production teams from both Shiru and CP Kelco are already working together at CP Kelco's facility in San Diego to support the first prototype runs.