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This British startup raises £1.65M to stop palm oil-driven deforestation with lab-grown sustainable alternative

Clean Food Group Founder
Image credits: Clean Food Group

A UK-headquartered foodtech developing cultivated food, Clean Food Group, has completed a £1.65 million seed funding round. The investment was led by Agronomics (which backed VitroLabs), holding a 35% interest in the company along with AIM listed SEED Innovations Limited, a leading global food and beverage company as well as venture capital investors.

In addition, Jim Mellon has joined the Board of Clean Food Group following the investment by Agronomics.

Stop palm oil-driven deforestation

With this round, Clean Food Group announced that it is one step closer to producing a viable yeast-based alternative to palm oil. The ‘lab grown’ cellular-based alternative could help reduce the detrimental environmental impact of a range of palm-based ingredients found in nearly 50% of all packaged products on supermarket shelves.

In addition to this product, Clean Food Group is further investing in the development of a large-scale pilot plant and securing regulatory approval for new products.

Christopher Chuck, Clean Food Group Technical Advisor and Professor of Bioprocess Engineering in Bath’s Department of Chemical Engineering, said the acquisition and further investment to scale the technology will bring closer to market a range of more sustainable products displacing palm oil in the market. He said: “Our dependence on palm oil comes at a great environmental cost. We’ve worked over many years to create robust palm oil alternatives that give us a real chance to cut the impact of a range of products that until now have only been possible to produce with palm oil and the deforestation, pollution and emissions that come with it

Alex Neves, co-founder and CEO of Clean Food Group said: “With this funding round now successfully completed, we are not only well capitalised to complete the next stage of our corporate development, but are also well placed to take the next step on the path to bringing our palm oil alternative, an ingredient with the potential to solve substantial environmental, food security, health and working environment challenges within the incumbent palm oil supply chain, to market.”

Lab-grown palm oil alternative

Clean Food Group was founded by Alex Neves and Ed McDermott in 2021 with the mission to solve the environmental crisis caused by the production of its palm oil alternative.

In Q1 2022, the company acquired relevant intellectual property from the University of Bath where the technology has been developed over the last eight years by Professor Chris Chuck and his team.

It is focused on bringing sustainable, cultivated foods to market in the UK and Europe. It operates within the fast-developing cultivated food industry, a market with enormous opportunities driven by significant environmental, health and animal welfare concerns about existing and future consumption levels of animal protein and other foods such as palm oil.

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