Austrian start-up Kern Tec is upcycling facet streams – apricot, cherry and plum pits – from jam and juice processors to make substances for plant-based dairy and confectionery merchandise.
Having closed a $12m Collection A funding spherical, the founders are making ready to scale-up manufacturing and commercialisation of its substances. “This funding will speed up our world scaling capabilities and allow extra merchandise to the market which can be derived from the dear stone fruit seeds,” stated co-founder and managing director Luca Fichtinger.
“It will scale our impression of decreasing waste, while unlocking additional development within the plant-based dairy business.”
Kernels – with out the cyanide
Kern Tec was based in 2019 to make use of those would-be-waste streams that juice processors or pitting stations largely promote onto biomass corporations ship to landfill. In Europe, an estimated 50,000 metric tons find yourself in landfill alone.
However stone fruit pits, and extra particularly their seeds – or kernels – have dietary worth within the type of oils or protein. Apricot kernels, for instance, can comprise as much as 23% protein relying on the range. They’re additionally excessive in unsaturated fat and vitamin E.
The issue is that stone fruit kernels comprise a harmful chemical often called amygdalin. When digested, the physique converts amygdalin into the poisonous substance cyanide. Kern Tec has developed proprietary expertise to extract amygdalin, guaranteeing cyanide-free substances for human consumption.
Kern Tec suspects various dairy merchandise made utilizing its upcycled substances may very well be amongst essentially the most sustainable on the planet. “We’ve got performed a life cycle evaluation and located that our seeds have as much as 95% much less water use, 50% much less CO2 emissions and, what I feel is value essentially the most – no additional land use in comparison with different nuts,” Fichtinger instructed FoodNavigator.
Kern Tec available on the market: ‘Customers love the concept of a round ingredient’
In various dairy, Kern Tec’s substances can be utilized in throughout a variety of functions, from plant-based milk to yoghurt and cheese alternate options.
The corporate is already promoting branded dairy alternate options into retailer REWE in Austria and has developed a product line within the snack class with Swiss retailer Coop.
The beginning-ups plans on getting into the German market within the close to future, having established a collaboration with a ‘notable’ Germany dairy firm, Fichtinger revealed. Outcomes from this partnership will ‘come to market very quickly’, launching with an expansive vary of dairy alternate options based mostly on Kern Tec substances.
General, Kern Tec has signed buy orders for its substances value ‘hundreds of thousands of euros’ in revenues in over the approaching years.
The merchandise are branded in keeping with whether or not they’re for B2B or B2C markets, defined the co-founder. Kern Tec’s B2C vary for its native Austrian market is bought below the Wunderkern model. The initiatives helps the start-up take a look at its merchandise available on the market and get a really feel for shopper perceptions.
“This this info, we will enhance our recipes and create higher merchandise,” we had been instructed. “General, the notion of our dairy alternate options, in addition to chocolate spreads, was very constructive – persons are curious to attempt the merchandise and love the concept of a round ingredient.”
Plans for €12m Collection A funding
With the brand new funding, Kern Tec has plans to spice up manufacturing, provide chains, and NPD.
Particularly, the start-up plans to quadruple manufacturing capability and introduce ‘new applied sciences’ to its traces. “Secondly, [we’re] scaling the worth chain all through Europe, Asia and the US,” Fichtinger instructed this publication.
The funds can even assist enhance its staff measurement, and to ‘double down’ product improvement efforts for dairy alternate options and new classes.
The Collection A was led by Telos Impression, with participation from the PeakBridge Progress 2 fund and the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund. The latter was established below the EU Horizon Europe programme and is solely funded by the European Fee.
“Our funding will present Kern Tec with the means to scale their enterprise in Europe and, because of their modern expertise, contribute to saving sources and supporting farmers and companies,” commented EIC Fund Board chair Svetoslava Georgieva.
For PeakBridge, which additionally participated within the fundraise, meals substances innovation – comparable to that pioneered by Kern Tec – play a ‘pivotal’ position in reworking the meals business in the direction of more healthy and extra sustainable merchandise at reasonably priced prices.
“Kern Tec’s initiatives pave the way in which for accountable manufacturing and consumption, whereas additionally providing enhanced flavour prospects,” stated Erich Sieber, PeakBridge co-founder and normal accomplice.