Meet the start-up | Proteins of Tomorrow

The Planet team is pleased to announce that recently another new company has moved in with us on the 3rd floor of the Beijerinck Center, namely Proteins of Tomorrow
Proteins of Tomorrow is a start-up company that combines food technology and biotechnology to create mycoprotein muscle tissue. This new patented natural texturization method can be used in food industry applications.

We sat down with CEO Paul den Dulk for a talk about the company.

Can you tell us a bit about Proteins of Tomorrow and what you do?
"Proteins of Tomorrow (PoT) is driven by sustainability and we have our hearts set to tackle important global issues, such as climate change, CO­2 reduction,overconsumption and production. Overall protein consumption is predicted to nearly double by 2050. The earth will be run out on agricultural space and the environment will be overwhelmed. To achieve the overarching sustainability goals, we have decided to focus on producing affordable sustainable plant-based protein. PoT developed a proprietary natural texturization method based on mycelium to create whole cuts plant based soy free meat-like textures for vegan, vegetarian and hybrid applications."

Can you tell us more about the process and your product?
"Proteins of Tomorrow is a hands on company. From day one we test applications to see if an application works or not. It was a nice accident in the application lab that created the product we are working on now; a muscle like fibrous texture.

In my previous start-ups we directly brought new concepts to the market without proper testing on product. In this situation we decided to work in silence on the proof of concept before bringing it to the world. This resulted in a patented scalable technology to make the business case ready for further investment rounds.

Our mycoproteins grow on residual streams from the food industry but can also grow on food ingredients /carbohydrates. We currently use sugar beet and Brewers Spent Grain from Dutch food manufacturers. The mycoprotein itself is a completely natural texturized protein, food grade, so there is no EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) approval needed. We expect to organize the first tastings in the next upcoming months.

In the long run, we intend to supply the mycoprotein to the market on both a Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) basis; brand products like a steak of chicken breast analogue product, but also as an ingredient in plant based meat and fish like fillets, cold cuts, spreads, vegan dairy and vegan cheese and in hybrid meat products." 

Who are your main competitors and how do you differ from them?
"Players in the same field are Nature’s Fynd and Ecovative. However, the cultures they use are GMO or need to pass an EFSA food approval registration process.

Quorn and The Protein Brewery products are similar too, but produced with bio reactors that create small protein particles. PoT decided to go for solid state fermentation, since it is economical more feasible than the bioreactor application. Solid state fermentation creates a yield of 95% compared to bioreactor harvest of 25%. Moreover, by using solid state fermentation we create the whole cut muscle tissue in one go."

In which ways have you already benefitted from being part of Planet
"Besides housing and labs, Planet is an inspiring environment that brings all kind of new cooperation and new contacts that will bring our company further. It is good to have other similar companies and partners in the ecosystem to share and review on how others managed a comparable situations.
The Province of South Holland aims to become one of the core regions in the field of alternative proteins. Recently, Planet together with InnovationQuarter took the initiative to start a consortium of regional frontrunners to help realize this ambition: Protein Port. By being part of this consortium of regional frontrunners, we hope to reap the benefits of this eventually."

What does the future look like for Proteins of Tomorrow?
"Within a year we would like to create a pilot plant and start up the production to supply clients with our products. In 2 years we will integrate the technology at a big industrial partner that owns the food grade residuals. In 10 years, Proteins of Tomorrow will provide 0,25% of the world market with our products (300Mil)."