LONDON — Unilever PLC is partnering with food technology company ENOUGH (formerly 3F BIO) to bring new plant-based meat alternatives to market.
Based in Glasgow, Scotland, ENOUGH uses a zero-waste fermentation process to grow high-quality protein. It feeds natural fungi with renewable feedstock like wheat and corn to create Abunda, a high-fiber food ingredient containing all nine essential amino acids.
The ingredient’s fibrous and meaty texture is a good fit for The Vegetarian Butcher, a fast-growing brand of plant-based meat alternatives acquired by Unilever in 2018, said Carla Hilhorst, executive vice president of research development, food and refreshment, at Unilever. The brand grew more than 70% in 2020 and currently is available in 45 countries across four continents. It recently introduced new vegan raw burgers, which replicate beef burgers cooked rare. The brand also partnered with Burger King to bring plant-based burgers and nuggets to restaurants across Europe, China, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa.
“Plant-based foods is one of Unilever’s fastest growing segments and we’re delighted to partner with ENOUGH to develop more sustainable protein products that are delicious, nutritious, and a force for good,” Ms. Hilhorst said. “We’re excited by the potential that this technology has for future innovations across our portfolio, and we can’t wait to launch more plant-based foods that help people cut down on meat, without compromising on taste.”
Plant-based innovations created through the partnership with ENOUGH will support Unilever’s goal of reaching $1 billion in sales from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in the next four to six years, she added. The company also is working with biotechnology company Algenuity to explore the use of microalgae in applications such as mayonnaise, soups, sauces and meat alternatives.