Startup plant-based processor Alfred’s FoodTech introduces an innovative platform for producing plant-based whole cuts that mimic animal-derived products. The company developed a versatile platform for whole-cut texturization to produce plant-based meat alternatives that can answer the growing need for flavorful, sustainable, animal-free products.
Alfred’s aims to solve one of the alt-protein movement’s key challenges: creating whole cuts that mimic their animal-based counterparts in terms of texture, mouthfeel, and flavor tones. The technology focused company has successfully produced prototypes of deli meat, high-in-demand chicken nugget analogs.
The challenges of whole-cut plant-based products
Most meat alternative products contain a long list of ingredients and additives to achieve the same texture and aroma as meat and poultry. The main challenge is to minimalize ingredients and maintain high protein, while creating continuous, whole-muscle tissue cuts in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
Various food technologies already serve the rapidly growing alternative protein scene. Extrusion or the more recent 3D printing are used to bind ingredients into desired fibrous forms. Novel fermentation and scaffold technologies also are gaining ground. Alfred’s technology is able to build continuous tissue like structures and can work with other existing technologies.
“Plant-based whole-cut products that resemble meat are the ‘Holy Grail’ of the industry,” enthuses Ronny Reinberg, CEO and co-founder of Alfred’s. “Our tech uses only simple ingredients, such as pea protein and canola oil. Yet we can still custom-design compositions for food companies using protein sources of their choice, including cell-based ingredients. “With Alfred’s versatile technology, any food company can easily create alternative products that give consumers the exact experience of real meat and poultry.”
Alfred’s technology can scale up outputs quickly, making it suitable for mass market-oriented food corporations, and can be integrated into existing food processing systems. The start-up plans to establish a low-volume production site to serve initial market demand. Rafi Shavit, Alfred’s other co-founder and COO brings vast experience in business, engineering, and operation management from various industries, helping to ensure that the start-up can rapidly accelerate production.
“We were founded with the goal of bolstering food companies and innovators within the alternative protein landscape,” contributes Shavit. “We see ourselves as the engine that enables companies achieve new organoleptic heights in plant-based protein alternatives. Our mission is to elevate the plant-based experience for the growing ‘conscious eating’ consumer market notably flexitarians aspiring to presume more plant-based lifestyles but still crave for that sensation of biting into a beefy steak.”
“Building a resilient, scalable, safe food system is the core of Alfred’s strength,” explains Shavit. “We can produce animal-free products that are affordable, safe, and kinder to our planet.”
In 1935, Jacob and Dina Reinberg, together with their son Alfred and his siblings, emigrated from Germany to Argentina. The family settled near Buenos Aires, where they raised dairy cows for living. As a young man, Alfred worked at the cold meat production factory “La Foresta” as a foreman. His son, Raul moved to Israel and worked for many years at T’nuva, the largest dairy company in Israel.
Alfred’s grandson, Ronny, is a biotechnology engineer. He continued the family tradition of meat production but re-imagined it to meet modern demands for meat-like products with the help of cutting-edge technology. A committed vegan for 10 years, he joined with mechanical engineer and lab to scale production expert Rafi Shavit to formulate a compelling alternative meat solution that can appeal to the palate. With capabilities to deliver up to a 30% protein content, it offers a viable and nutritious substitute for animal-sourced proteins. The company has built a strong team of scientists, engineers, and food professionals who bring many years of experience and know-how to execute the company’s vision of helping to feed a growing world population.
Alfred’s formed earlier this year and already has raised US$1.3M in seed funding. The company is now entering its next A-round stage and is currently in dialogue with various leading international food companies, including meat producers and cultured meat companies.
Alfred’s will take part in the pitch slam at the annual Good Food Institute (GFI) conference on September 23, 2021, as one of the 12 finalists chosen to present their company and tech.