Credit_ Laurie Lapworth _ University of Bath 5

Source: Photo: Laurie Lapworth, University of Bath

A UK biotech company that is developing a yeast-made alternative to palm oil has secured investment from global lipid, nutrition and frozen bakery company Alianza Team.

Clean Food Group will use the cash to “scale up its technology platform whilst advancing critical regulatory and commercial pathways” it said.

The proprietary technology platform uses “proven, scalable” yeast strains and fermentation tech, and food waste as a food source for the yeast, to “deliver sustainable alternatives to traditional oil and fat ingredients”.

Alianza Team’s backing was secured as part of Clean Food Group’s pre-Series A funding round, which is expected to close this month. The round is being supported by both new and existing investors. It has previously received more than £900,000 of funding from cellular agriculture venture capital firm Agrinomics.

A Series A funding round is expected to complete next year “by which time the business will have validated technology at a commercial scale and have clear line of sight to near-term revenue generation” it said. Cash raised in that round will be used to build a commercial scale manufacturing facility.

“The investment is further validation of Clean Food Group’s technology platform and is a key component in enabling the company to proceed to a successful close of our current funding round,” said Clean Food Group co-founder and CEO Alex Neves.

“The strategic collaboration with Alianza Team will drive forward our commercialisation strategy and support our objective to bring sustainable oils and fats on to the market, at commercial scale, within the next three years,” he added.

Palm oil is the world’s most produced, consumed and traded vegetable oil, according to the WWF, but its irresponsible production has caused widespread rainforest destruction and wildlife loss, exacerbated climate change, and resulted in labour and human rights violations.

Clean Food Group’s alternative performs in a similar way to palm oil, with an equivalent nutritional and fatty acid composition. It developed its yeast strain using a non-genetically modified process similar to plant breeding. The company’s biotech was developed as a result of eight years of research by Professor Chris Chuck, technical lead at Clean Food Group and the University of Bath.

The company is currently working with THG to develop sustainable cosmetic ingredients.

Luis Botero, president and CEO at Alianza Team, said he was “excited” to be investing in and collaborating with Clean Food Group, “an organisation where we believe our shared core values of innovation and sustainability will deliver healthier, more nutritional foods to improve our food systems for future generations”.