Shiru's discovery platform Flourish uses computational biology to search a 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 company said its objective is to enable food companies to make tasty, 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 the 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 candidates for the 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."
CP Kelco 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."
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.
Founded in 2019, Shiru has developed an ingredient discovery approach that combines machine-learning algorithms and precision fermentation to discover and create high-value ingredients. Built by a team of technology experts and food industry veterans, Shiru is based in Emeryville, California, and is backed by venture capital firms such as S2G Ventures, Lux Capital, and CPT Capital.