Israeli startup signs €1.5m deal to ramp up production

Local food tech start-up Meat.The End (MTE) announced on Tuesday that it has reached a €1.5 million deal with a European equipment company to improve its research and development and with the aim of increasing the production capacity of its plant-based meat substitutes. The firm struck a deal two months ago to allow Burger King Israel to offer plant-based Whoppers.

This creator of protein components that improve the texture of alternative meats has described the anonymous European company as a “world leader in industrial mechanization equipment”.

The plant-based meat start-up has indicated as part of the purchase agreement that it intends to develop Israel’s first industrial line of textured protein ingredients using extrusion-based technology. The European firm is expected to provide technical assistance for its R&D activities, MTE said in a statement.

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“This technology is expected to contribute dramatically to solving the problem of hunger in the world,” said MTE founder Yishai Mishor. “In tomorrow’s protein world, those who master advanced extrusion techniques will have control of the raw materials on the market. »

“Meat.The End is going in that direction,” added Mishor.

The purchase agreement comes after MTE signed its first commercial contract in October, announcing a partnership with Israeli franchise Burger King to develop plant-based meat substitutes and launch free menus. meat.

Moshe Isarowitch, vice president of technical process and technology at Israeli food tech startup Meat.The End. (Credit: Courtesy)

MTE will work with the European company on special machines to develop raw materials for the meat alternative market using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, said Moshe Isarowitch, the vice president of the technical and technological service of the startup at Times of Israel.

Isarowitch, a former chief mechanical engineer at Unilever Israel, said the startup plans to roll out the new machines within the next six months.

Founded in 2020, MTE develops protein ingredients for the meat substitute market with a focus on texture with the goal, according to the startup, of replicating the chewing and biting sensations of real meat.

While other alternative food tech companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are investing in the taste factor, MTE believes texture is key to “satisfying” consumers who crave something more like meat. meat.

MTE uses existing extrusion technology, which involves making a shaped object like a hamburger, and applying proprietary processes to it along the production line to obtain a Textured Protein Ingredient (TPI) or Textured Vegetable Protein (PVT), which are the building blocks of vegetable burgers.

“Our unique technology is based on a new approach to industrial extrusion processes and revolutionary protein pre-treatment,” Mishor told the Times of Israel in October.

As producers of plant-based products are forced to increase production and cut costs to meet growing consumer demand, the Israeli startup is also considering licensing the production technology to other companies. other food technology companies.

Extrusion, a technology commonly used in the commercial production of cereals, puffed snacks, bars and doughs, requires fewer resources such as energy and water, and therefore has a lower cost than other manufacturing processes. production, MTE said.

Ricky Ben-David contributed to this article.

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Israeli startup signs €1.5m deal to ramp up production

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