Chr. Hansen accelerates fermented plant-based activities

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Chr. Hansen is expecting to accelerate product development in the fermented plant-based sector. Pic: Chr. Hansen
Chr. Hansen is expecting to accelerate product development in the fermented plant-based sector. Pic: Chr. Hansen

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Global biosciences company Chr. Hansen has joined MISTA, a California-based start-up optimizer focusing on the development of sustainable, innovative foods.

With this collaboration, Chr. Hansen said it wants to further develop fermented plant-based solutions that help customers match this trend, and help create a sustainable and resilient global food system that can feed a growing population.

When it comes to dairy alternatives, consumers are looking for the same health and taste profile as associated with traditional dairy products. The rapidly-evolving fermented plant-based foods industry can offer excellent options, the company said.

In the past 12 months, Chr. Hansen said 160 new brands of fermented plant-based foods have been launched. In the US, plant-based milk alternatives now account for more than 10% of the volume of drinking milks.

At MISTA, Chr. Hansen joins Givaudan, Danone, Ingredion and Mars, to work with a selected cohort of around 20 start-up companies. It will also collaborate with a range of service partners, venture financers and universities such as UC Davis and UC Berkeley.

MISTA brings together large companies operating in different segments of the value chain, and the agility and fast-paced innovation of start-ups.

The MISTA premises in San Francisco house a test kitchen, pilot scale production and laboratory facilities, as well as office and function space. Chr. Hansen will invest in fermentation capability including equipment and application staff on site to run collaborative projects and to conduct its own internal research.

Ross Crittenden, senior director commercial development for plant-based dairy alternatives at Chr. Hansen, said, “Our foray represents a bold new approach to exploring close-to-market innovation using a tailored ecosystem.

“It will allow us to participate in building new ideas with innovative start-ups whilst leveraging the power of large and established ingredient and end-product developers. This will accelerate the innovation, and also increase the chance of success, since all parties are working together for the same goal – ultimately co-creating solutions that address the health and wellness of both people and the planet.”

MISTA provides a platform for rapid and focused innovation with an in-built path for commercialization.

Crittenden said, “The application work will be plugged into Chr. Hansen’s global network of application centers to ensure efficient dissemination of learnings both ways. It will give us an opportunity to run rapid prototyping directly with potential customers in collaboration with best-in-class ingredient suppliers.”

He said that working closely with the other partners will help accelerate research, and ultimately Chr. Hansen’s product development, in the fermented plant-based sector.

“Chr. Hansen already has a number of solutions in this category, but we are keen to offer even more options to our customers,”​ Crittenden said.

“We also look forward to supporting the other members’ aims of developing exciting, tasty, healthy and sustainable foods, and gaining valuable knowledge and commercialization opportunities along the way.”

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