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Edonia Secures €2M Investment to Develop Microalgae-Based Ground Meat Alternative with Reduced Bitterness

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 30, 2024
Edonia Secures €2M Investment to Develop Microalgae-Based Ground Meat Alternative with Reduced Bitterness

Edonia Secures €2M Investment to Develop Microalgae-Based Ground Meat Alternative with Reduced Bitterness

Edonia, a Paris-based startup, has successfully secured a €2 million investment to enhance its production of plant-based meat alternatives using microalgae, addressing the global challenge of sustainable food production.

The company, led by CEO Hugo Valentin, specializes in creating protein ingredients from microalgae such as spirulina and chlorella. This investment marks a significant step in scaling the technology for wider market application.

The Edonization Process Explained

Microalgae are the foundation of Edonia’s product, Edo-1, which is produced through a unique process called “edonization.” This process transforms microalgae biomass into a plant-based ingredient with improved taste, odor, texture, nutritional, and environmental qualities.

The edonization technique not only changes the color of the microalgae from green to a richer brown but also modifies the texture to resemble tender, meaty grains, with flavors akin to those produced by smoking or grilling.

Edo-1, the startup’s first product, offers an umami-like flavor and a texture closer to ground meat than soy proteins, making it a viable alternative to traditional meat. It contains 30% protein, including essential amino acids, and is richer in protein content compared to ground beef, which is about 20% protein by comparison.

How Does Edonia Impact the Environment?

Valentin, who previously co-founded Ammi focused on spirulina consumption and served as an account director at consulting firm Uzik, is driven by the potential of microalgae in the protein transition.

When 34% of greenhouse gas emissions stem from our food production, he emphasized the environmental advantages of using microalgae, noting that Edo-1 could potentially reduce carbon emissions drastically. In collaboration with AgroParisTech, Edonia has developed a Life Cycle Assessment showing that its product could:

  • Emit 40 times less carbon dioxide than ground meat.
  • Emit three times less than textured soy products.

The funding for Edonia was led by French venture capital firm Asterion Ventures, with additional participation from BPI. This financial backing will support the establishment of a pilot plant and the expansion of research and development efforts. Edonia is not classified under the “Novel Food” category, allowing for faster market entry without the need for specific French or European Union authorization.

The company is already producing small quantities of Edo-1 and plans to scale up to thousands of tons to meet market demand. Valentin anticipates having a full-scale production facility within two years. Moreover, Edonia is working with food manufacturers to develop recipes and food products that incorporate Edo-1, aiming for a market debut by the end of the year.

Broadening Edo-1’s Application

Valentin also highlighted the broader applications of Edo-1, suggesting it could enhance the nutritional value of various food products, such as bread, cakes, cream, and cereal bars, without compromising taste. The quality of Edonia’s innovations has been validated by French R&D chef Laurent Sicre, known for his culinary expertise.

Edonia is also in the process of setting up its industrial demonstrator and expects to start industrial-scale production this summer. The next steps include securing additional letters of intent from food makers, which will enable the commercial introduction of products containing Edo-1.

In conclusion, Edonia is leveraging the nutritional and environmental benefits of microalgae to offer sustainable food solutions. With its innovative technology and recent funding, the company is well-positioned to make a significant impact on the food industry, particularly in the plant-based protein sector.

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Featured Image courtesy of Edonia

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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