Like vegan, I remember eating honey, ”said Darko Mandich, founder, and CEO of MeliBio, confidently.
It is not uncommon for vegetables to miss out on certain foods. Unusual, however, is the solution of Mr. Mandich: to create a type of honey, which is similar to the natural type throughout the molecule, but is produced without the involvement of any bees at all.
If you look at honey and how it is made, it starts with bees collecting pollen and nectar from flowers and converting them into honey, fructose, and glucose, he says.
We imitate that in the lab, using small objects that do the work of building the first honey blocks.
In the last few years, alternatives to meat and dairy products have become quite common. For many, however, they simply go up to scratch themselves with taste, texture, or easy use.
But now, many early companies, such as MeliBio, want to use fermentation to produce biologically similar vegan products into the real thing.
Through the fermentation process, microbes digest food and produce useful products – for example, yeast, sugar, and alcohol.
But by carefully doing micro-organization and choosing the right feedstocks, it is possible to create a different end product – anything from bees, egg whites, milking.
Another company taking this approach is Better Dairy, a London-based initiative that grows milk and cheese through yeast fermentation.
The way it works is that you can use yeast in the same way we use yeast in brewing beer – but we change the yeast so that instead of producing beer, it produces what we want to produce, said Jeevan Nagarajah, founder and Chief Executive.
So technology uses yeast as a platform to convert from sugar into sugars and the things you used to feed yourself, and then make that into milk, for us.
Using similar techniques to produce egg whites, San Francisco-based Clara Foods is on its way to mass production and is expected to produce the largest egg protein by 2028.
Our fermentation technology is all about allowing us to control and even surpass the composition, taste, and culinary performance of our egg-mating counterparts says one of the founders and CEO, Arturo Elizondo.
As well as making vegetables happy, traditional products can have environmental benefits.
According to the UN and Food and Agricultural Organization, meat and dairy products account for about 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Meanwhile, the longing for honey in the world harms many species of bees, said Mr. Mandich.
Commercial beekeeping selects one type of bee, the honey bee, worldwide to meet the growing needs of honey, he says. They actively compete with wild and native bee species and repel them.
We may consider dairy products to be exactly the same as ingredients in other products, not in boxes or containers on store shelves.
Two-thirds of honey is sold in honey markets as an ingredient in other products such as food, beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. So we as a company start with a business model by business first, said Mr. Mandich. We have 15 companies in the US that have signed intentions.
MeliBio expects to begin its first delivery later this year.