Global agribusiness giant Cargill has invested in Dutch plant-based meat start-up Bflike to offer alternatives to animal-based products, the companies announced on 22 April.

The partnership combines Cargill’s food ingredient solutions with Bflike’s recipes and technology.

“Global volume consumption of protein is expected to nearly double by 2050. Plant-based protein, as a complement to animal protein, will help fulfill growing consumer desire for more options as part of a balanced diet,” said Belgin Köse, segment director enrichment & renewability for Cargill Starches, Sweeteners & Texturizers (CSST) Europe.

Technology developed by Bflike includes patent-pending vegan fat and blood platforms which can be used in the production of plant-based meat and fish alternative products. These products have a similar visual appearance, texture, mouthfeel, melting pattern and cooking performance as their animal-based counterparts, according to the company.

Food manufacturers and retailers will be able to license Bflike’s technology and premix ingredient solutions to create their own alternative meat and fish products.

The Cargill-Bflike collaboration would help customers move from the pilot stage to the commercialisation of their products using their own production process and machinery, the companies said.

Cargill’s investment in Bflike was realised through a joint venture with Blue Ocean Xlerator NV (BOX), a Dutch private incubator/accelerator focused on sustainable innovations in the food sector. Bflike also had technical support from TOP BV, a Dutch food technology service provider based in Wageningen Food Valley and a subsidiary company of BOX.

“Box and TOP have spent years developing a pipeline of diet enrichment solutions, allowing manufacturers to offer affordable meat and fish alternatives that truly mirror the sensory experience of traditional animal-based products,” said Bflike CEO Koos van Haasteren.

“Now together with Cargill as a development partner, we can help expand the possibilities with a new generation of nutritious products.”

CSST’s portfolio includes sweeteners, starches, ethanol, acidulants, proteins, texturisers, corn oil, dry corn ingredients, specialities and animal feed ingredients.