Cargill embraces ‘smarter’ fats to perk up plant-based options in Europe

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/Rocky89
Image: Getty/Rocky89

Related tags Cargill fats and oils Cubiq Foods plant based

The ingredients supplier has joined forces with Spanish food tech start-up Cubiq Foods aimed at accelerating healthier, more sustainable and better-tasting plant-based food solutions.

The pair have signed product co-development and commercial go-to-market agreements aimed at developing and accelerating wide-scale commercialization of Cubiq’s ​innovative fat technologies.

The collaboration aims to go global but will initially start with dedicated teams in European Union and North America, FoodNavigator was told.

Cargill said it will now have access to Cubiq’s innovative technologies to help customers develop plant-based alternative foods with benefits that surpass typical products made with animal fats or tropical oils. These include flavour enhancement, improvement in total fats and saturated fats, an improvement in caloric content and in some cases combine essential fatty acids (omega 3).

Cubiq’s novel fats join Cargill’s existing portfolio of plant-based solutions, spanning plant proteins, texturizers and a full array of traditional fats and oils.

“By embracing new technologies, harnessing our full ingredient toolbox and leveraging our global application knowledge, we’re poised to accelerate the development of the next-generation plant-based products. Ultimately, it will be a win for consumers, as we enable food manufacturers to create products and solutions with an eye toward both people and the planet,” said Vivek Cherian, Meat and Dairy Alternatives Category Leader for Edible Oils at Cargill.

‘Smarter fats’ proclaiming superior functional and nutritional qualities

Cubiq Foods has developed a vegan ‘smart fat’ that, it claims, behaves like animal fat within product formulations.

The new fat technologies can be used across multiple applications and are especially relevant in the plant-based meat and dairy alternative space, it believes, where fats and oils play pivotal roles in structure, taste, texture, and nutritional profile.

Most current plant-based options “fall short of consumers'” expectations, according to the Spanish company. It says its “smarter” fats help close the gap, including advances that replicate animal fat in terms of visual appearance, mouthfeel, and bite.

Using cell culture, microencapsulation of omega-3 oils and new oil/water emulsion formulas, Cubiq has developed a technology platform to produce cultivated fats and omega-3-rich cell-based oils and has new patented methods for preparing structured oil/water emulsions to replace plant and animal fats in food production.

The melting point of Cubiq’s smart fat is higher than 80 degrees,​ thus avoiding the problem with vegetable fats, which will melt out of a product during cooking. The company therefore claims it is ready to replace animal fats in processed meat, and coconut oil in plant-based products globally.

“Signing the joint development and commercial agreements represents the next phase in our partnership, as our ground-breaking technology is now ready for application development, production scale-up and widespread commercialization – roles that Cargill is uniquely equipped to help us advance,” said Andrés Montefeltro, chief executive officer at Cubiq.

“Together, we’ll help food manufacturers and consumers reimagine what’s possible in the quest for healthy and satisfying foods.”

Cargill first invested in Cubiq in May 2022. The latest collaboration complements Cargill’s previous investments in alternative protein sources, including PURIS and Upside Foods (formerly known as Memphis Meats).

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