Motif Ingredients, a food ingredients company, recently launched with $90M in Series A financing to provide next-generation alternative proteins and other ingredients to global food companies. Powered by US based Ginkgo Bioworks' platform for biological engineering, Motif Ingredients will leverage biotechnology to create novel solutions for foods that provide consumers with greater choices, without compromising taste or nutrition.
Motif investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Louis Dreyfus Company, Fonterra, and Viking Global Investors.
Jonathan McIntyre, formerly Head of R&D at Indigo Agriculture and former SVP of R&D at PepsiCo, will lead Motif as CEO. Motif will be headquartered at Ginkgo's Boston Seaport facility.
Consumer demand for alternative foods such as meat substitutes and plant-based beverages grew 17% last year, with food companies rapidly innovating to keep up with demand, but obstacles remain to create products that maintain the taste, health profile and integrity of their animal-based counterparts. Motif's ingredients offer a solution to this problem, bringing the nutrition and taste that consumers demand at an accessible price that mass scale food markets require. Using biotechnology and fermentation – rather than animal agriculture – Motif will engineer dozens of proteins derived from dairy, egg and meat without compromising the functionality, taste and nutrition of animal-based ingredients.
Biotechnology is indispensable for catalyzing the next generation of foods. Vital food ingredients, including vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and flavors, are made through fermentation with genetically engineered yeasts and bacteria in a process similar to brewing beer. Identifying and developing new fermented ingredients – particularly new proteins – that are historically derived from animals requires deep technical resources and experience.
With Ginkgo, Motif will accelerate the R&D process for manufacturing new ingredients at a price, taste, and quality in line with what is already available at an everyday food market. Crucially, food companies will be able to outsource this costly and time-intensive R&D process to Motif as a trusted and innovative supplier, while dedicating more time and resources to bringing delicious products and new brands to consumers.
Motif is the second startup to launch from Ginkgo's breakthrough platform for biological engineering. The first, Joyn Bio was launched in September 2017 in a joint venture by Ginkgo and Leaps by Bayer to focus on achieving more sustainable agricultural practices, starting with nitrogen fixation. With Ginkgo's state of the art automated foundries and codebase, startups like Motif and Joyn can easily access the vast diversity of biology to grow innovative and sustainable new products.