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Mediterranean Food Lab Wins €100,000 from EIT

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EIT Food, a European food initiative, aims to accelerate startups that will shape the food world in the coming decades.

The Israeli startup, The Mediterranean Food Lab, is one of three winners in the EIT Food Accelerator Network (EIT FAN) program, winning €100,000.

Related: Firmenich's Flavors of the Year 2021

The Mediterranean Food Lab of Israel, develops natural solutions that improve the taste of plant-based foods and meat alternatives. The company develops natural, healthy flavor bases that are sustainably produced and affordable, using modalities based on traditional, multi-phase, solid state fermentation of plant protein.

This year, it also won a grant from the Good Food Institute to research the potential of traditional Southeast Asian foods for the development of rich flavors for the alternative meat sector.

The Mediterranean Food Lab was founded by Yair Yosefi, Omer Ben Gal, and B.Z. (Ben) Goldberg, who wanted to harness their individual research and development expertise in plant-based flavoring agents to establish the startup.

B.Z. Goldberg, CEO and R&D director of The Mediterranean Food Lab, explained that the rapid expansion of the alternative meat sector is thus far mainly limited to emulating meat as a main protein serving, “a large piece of protein that sits in the middle of your plate, such as hamburgers, steaks, chicken nuggets, etc.”

Even if we stop slaughtering animals to produce hamburgers and steak, the food world will still need billions of animals each year to feed our appetite for the flavor enhancing qualities and meaty flavor profile presently delivered by animal protein, unless there is a  great tasting  alternative. And that is what we’re working on,” said Goldberg.

Professor Uri Lesmes of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering said, “The EIT Food Accelerator Network is a unique pan-European program established to catalyze significant breakthroughs, mainly by providing support and advice to new startups and entrepreneurs. The companies that participated in the program at the Technion are engaged in finding food alternatives and in enriching the food chain as we know it—a common trend in the food world today. This year the COVID-19 crisis forced us to exercise our Israeli agility and adapt the program into a hybrid format, integrating online learning with practical workshops at the Faculty. I am proud to say we were the only hub to do so, and to persist in fostering the growth of startups. This continues to support Israel’s leading position at the forefront of food-tech innovation. Israeli entrepreneurs have brought creativity and daring to the food sector, and it is not without reason that Israel is an important player in the global food-tech industry.”

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