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UK biotech Clean Food Group lands £2.3M funding to halt palm oil-linked deforestation with lab-grown breakthrough

Clean Food Group founder
Picture credits: Clean Food Group

Today, food production accounts for 25% of global greenhouse emissions, with high yield monocultures responsible for the increasing levels of disease, deforestation and land exhaustion. Food waste, a nutrient source currently not recycled back into the food ecosystem, represents a shocking 30% of global food production.

The top three drivers of commodity-driven deforestation today are all foods: Beef and dairy, soy, palm oil. UK-based biotech company Clean Food Group’s technology converts food waste into valuable food ingredients, providing sustainable alternatives to these top three deforestation drivers. 

Funding to accelerate commericalisation

The UK startup known for its innovative sustainable oils and fats technology, has secured an additional £2.3 million in funding to expedite the advancement of its commercialisation efforts. Noteworthy international investments came from the Doehler Group (that backed Chromologics) and Alianza Team, both renowned industrial food specialists. 

Notably, Agronomics, a prominent listed investment firm with a focus on Cellular Agriculture, and SEED Innovations Ltd, an AIM-listed fund dedicated to global health opportunities, have reaffirmed their support and active participation in this latest round of funding. This infusion of funds aligns with the global food industry’s commitment to invest in more health-conscious and sustainable food options for the benefit of future generations. 

The capital generated from this funding will empower Clean Food Group to swiftly expand its technological platform and concurrently progress through pivotal regulatory and commercial channels. Previously, in 2022, Clean Food Group snapped £1.65 million in seed funding.

Clean Food Group Co-founder and CEO Alex Neves said, “We are delighted with the rapid progress the business has made in the past year. The successful conclusion of this current funding round validates the important strides our business is taking in solving critical sustainability and supply chain challenges facing our food and cosmetic manufacturer customers. We are now in a great position to validate our technology at a commercial scale, advance our regulatory pathways and develop our growing list of commercial partners in advance of our Series A next year”.

Eyes Series A round in 2024

Anticipating a Series A funding round completion in 2024, Clean Food Group envisions having successfully validated its technology on a commercial scale, setting the stage for imminent revenue generation. The forthcoming Series A funding will be earmarked to facilitate the establishment of a commercial-scale manufacturing facility.

Besides this, the company recently announced a collaboration agreement with Alianza Team. Also, it recently signed a services agreement with Doehler Group, designed to rapidly scale its fermentation process to a commercial level, and enable the manufacture of product batches required for regulatory approval for Cosmetics and Food applications.  

The scale-up process with Doehler is now well advanced, with a successful fermentation run at 1,000 litres recently completed; the manufacture of product batches for the regulatory approvals will be completed later this year.  

New appointments 

Besides the collaboration, Clean Food Group strengthened its operational team by hiring Dr. James Mercer, Head of Manufacturing and Scaleup, and Andrea Cattaruzza as Head of Product. 

James will be responsible for the scaleup of the company’s technology and brings over 25 years of experience in industrial fermentation and scale-up of alternative proteins, having previously held senior operational roles at Quorn, Croda, and DuPont, amongst others. Andrea brings 30 years of experience from Mars Global Chocolate, most recently as Director of Science. Andrea will drive Clean Food Group’s product strategy, developing high performance, sustainable ingredients for commercial partners. 

Delivers sustainable oils and fats solutions

Clean Food Group’s technology platform is the result of eight years of pioneering research led by Professor Chris Chuck. The proprietary technology platform uses proven, scalable yeast strains and fermentation technology and uses food waste as its food source to deliver sustainable alternatives to traditional oil and fat ingredients. 

The product pipeline is designed to deliver low-impact, high-performance ingredients with quality attributes and nutritional profiles that help our partners address challenges relating to supply chain volatility and support sustainability targets, including those related to waste stream utilisation and valorisation.

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