Planted: creating new plant-based meat alternatives
We speak with Dr. Patrick Rühs, Head of Science at Planted Foods, about their new Eurostars project, which won €820K from EUREKA. Plant2Go is a 2 year project aiming to bring a novel plant based meat substitute to market. The project includes a multi-disciplinary team, made up of Planted Foods and Enzybel International SA, industry experts in plant-based meats and in the development of naturally derived enzymes. Catalyze supported the successful Eurostars application and provide ongoing project management support to Plant2Go.
Planted: Revolutionizing the plant-based meat market
Planted Foods is a company innovating in a booming meat substitutes market. They were founded in 2019 as a spin-off company from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Since early 2020, Dr. Rühs has been Head of Science at Planted, where he leads an ambitious team aiming to not only create new food products for the meat-free market, but to invent new technologies along the way. Patrick’s team conduct research together with academic and industrial partners, with an eye to future food solutions.
Patrick says, “Together with our partners, we’re striving to use new raw materials while also inventing new processing techniques to create plant based meat analogues. Funding opportunities like Eurostars form an essential basis of support for our research.”
Part of Planted’s philosophy for plant-based meat is that it should not mean sacrificing any enjoyment from the ‘real thing’. Through Planted’s innovative and explorative research, they hope to produce products that are better than the actual meat product itself.
Patrick explains, “We want to revolutionise the plant-based meat market by providing new plant based alternatives using a minimal amount of ingredients, while prioritising a pleasurable eating experience. We want to create something that people actually want to eat over meat, simply because they prefer it – environmental reasons aside.”
Plant2Go: Innovative R&D supported by Eurostars
Planted’s Eurostars project, ‘Plant2Go’, aims to bring a novel plant-based meat substitute to the market that is affordable, highly nutritious with unique meat-like taste and juiciness. It is based on high moisture extrusion. Importantly the meat-substitute comes from a novel source, which solves exhaustion of soy, wheat and pea – all heavily farmed for meat-substitute products.
With their Eurostars funding, the Science Team at Planted are able to develop a new alternative protein source for future Planted products. This forms part of their long-term vision to work on and refine the properties of different alternative protein sources that can go on to become new plant-based meat analogues. Plant2Go develops a novel protein source that is conveniently obtained and highly sustainable.
Patrick explains, “The protein market is quickly changing and we continue to adapt as a company to always look for new, more sustainable, more nutritious protein sources. In that sense, our research projects, including Plant2Go, are establishing our protein pipeline for our production facility, because with funding from programmes like Eurostars we can dedicate resources to researching specific protein sources.”
The Plant2Go project commenced on March 2021. The project takes a comprehensive approach, including fundamental and applied research, marketing, development and upscaling.
Patrick says, “We’ve now started with the project and our partners are modifying the protein source that we are developing in the project.”
Applying to eurostars and finding complimentary expertise
Catalyze provided support in preparing the funding application to the Eurostars programme. As Dr. Rühs commented, the application demands far more than the scientific aspects alone, including a thorough business case. With such high competition only the most clear and detailed, yet concise applications will convince the judging panel of international business and research experts. Patrick describes the experience:
“Overall it was a very smooth process that was very well organised by Catalyze. As a scientist I found it surprising how much different information had to be included. For the financial and business information, such as a sales forecast, the help of Catalyze was crucial to getting the funding. Otherwise the proposal would have stayed on a very scientific technological level.
“Catalyze was also the driving force in setting and keeping to specific deadlines, always making sure that things were there on time. In addition they found our partner for the project, Enzybel, and we are very happy with having such a great partner.”
Continuing on the importance of finding the right partner, Patrick shares some advice for those considering an application to Eurostars:
“Have a concept in your mind on which industrial partners you would potentially need. Be flexible enough to change those partners if necessary. And make sure that the fields of interest of these partners are aligned from day one.”
Catalyze is pleased to support Planted with funding application support and ongoing project management of the Plant2Go project.
To learn more about Planted visit their website