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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Japanese government invests over $27m in alt-protein start-ups

The Japanese government has awarded $27.7 million in funding to plant-based egg producer Umami United and cell-based meat biotech IntegriCulture.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries selected the two companies as part of its ‘Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Innovation Promotion Fund Project,’ in a bid to support the country’s economy and enhance food security.

Umami United will receive around $9 million – it says it will use the capital to improve the functionality of its plant-based eggs and develop market expansion strategies to enter the North American market, the company also plans to develop an egg white replacer for the bakery and confectionery industries. Umami United’s plant-based eggs are made with traditional Japanese ingredients such as konjac flour, soy and wood ear mushrooms that the company upcycles using fermentation.

IntegriCulture has been awarded $18.7 million to demonstrate that its cultivated foie gras and serum platforms can operate commercially. The start-up says it will use the funding to demonstrate the technical capability of developing products at a commercially viable price point.

IntegriCulture develops cost-effective serum-free growth media and other tech solutions for the cell-ag sector through its CulNet System – a platform that the start-up says will be a universally accessible technology for growth media production. The company claims that it has successfully developed cultivated foie gras and chicken using its serum-free solution at a fraction of the costs – 1/60th compared to animal serum.

IntegriCulture's cell-based foie gras.
IntegriCulture's cell-based foie gras.

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