In the United Kingdom, a startup developing fermentation-based alternatives to palm oil hopes to begin sales in 2023.
Palm oil is used across numerous products in food, cosmetics, and biofuels, but despite being renewable it is often linked to extensive deforestation and further threat to endangered species. Despite this, the palm oil market is forecast to grow over 5% annually through 2030.
“Our dependence on palm oil comes at a great environmental cost,” says Christopher Chuck, Professor of Bioprocess Engineering at University of Bath, where the technology originated. Chuck now serves as Group Technical Advisor to Clean Food Group, which is bringing the process to market using lignocellulosic waste as feedstock.
Clean Food Group recently closed a £1.65 million (US$2.0 million) funding round, led by cellular ag investment group Agronomics. The company says its palm oil alternative can replace conventional palm oil in all the products it is used in today. The company is also optimistic that it can sell its alternative at competitive pricing.