4 European Startups Making Waves in the FoodTech Space

4 European Startups Making Waves in FoodTech

Alternative protein is one of the biggest FoodTech trends in recent years.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Martin Davalos, partner at the Czech investment firm McWin, said the introduction of new technologies in sectors such as alternative protein can contribute to mending the broken food system, particularly in reeling in the sky-high inflation and mounting food and energy prices across Europe.

“You see a lot of food service restaurants adopting alternative protein as a core in their menus,” Davalos pointed out, adding that while many restaurants already offer plant-based burgers, “that’s only the first iteration” and going forward, the range of vegan menu items will include a greater variety of meat substitutes.

Read also: Alternative Proteins Take New Shapes Amid Growing VC, Consumer Interest

European FoodTech startups are driving that movement by bringing a diverse range of alternative protein sources to the continent’s restaurants and grocery stores with the goal to accelerate the transition away from traditional meat and dairy production.

PYMNTS looks at four companies in the space that are worth watching this year.


The unique selling point of Austrian startup Arkeon is that it claims its alternative protein source is not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative.

By converting captured carbon dioxide into amino acids, the company hopes to extract excess CO2 straight from other industrial processes and turn it into the chemical building blocks all proteins are made from.

The key to Arkeon’s process is that it can produce all 20 proteinogenic amino acids in a single continuous fermentation process. And while these amino acids are an important nutritional food source, the company can also link them together into basic proteins known as peptides for use in meat substitutes and other foodstuffs.

The secret to Arkeon’s decarbonizing fermentation process lies in a type of ancient microbe known as archaea. And the discovery that archaea could be used to create amino acids was what inspired Arkeon’s microbiologist co-founders to launch the company in 2009.

At the cutting edge of alternative protein innovation, Arkeon’s pioneering technique has attracted the interest of AgTech and FoodTech accelerator ICL Planet Startup Hub, which recently invested 2.75 million euros (about $3 million) in the company to help it scale production and unlock new opportunities.


Like Arkeon, the Paris-based startup Yeasty is looking to kill two birds with one stone with its sustainable protein source.

By taking waste yeast from the beer industry and transforming it into a high-protein ingredient for use in meat analogs, sports nutrition and pet food, Yeasty is not only contributing to the advancement of a more sustainable food system but also helping brewers get rid of a waste product.

Upon the announcement of a 1.4-million-euro (about $1.5 million) fundraising round in November, the startup said it will now scale up its manufacturing process and begin working with food manufacturers to test recipes.

Looking ahead, Yeasty aims to build an industrial site with an annual production capacity of 5,000 tons by 2025.


There has been a lot of buzz in the alternative protein space recently surrounding the concept of cultured meat, in which real animal cells are grown for food products just without any animals.

This month, for example, Czech startup Mewery announced that it has created the world’s first cultivated meat prototype using microalgae, indicating a breakthrough in the development of the cellular agriculture techniques needed to make cultured meat commercially viable.

In a press release announcing the news, the company said that using microalgae in the cultivation process eliminates the need for animal-derived fetal bovine serum. It added that using algae helps it to cut costs while enriching the end product with additional nutrients.

Going forward, the company’s founder and CEO, Roman Laus, said Mewery is working on building its own biobank to ensure “a more or less unlimited source of pig cells, which will move us closer to large-scale production.”

Hello Plant Foods

Madrid-based startup Hello Plant Foods is known for its plant-based foie gras substitute Fuah, which has been selling out across Spain.

Consisting mostly of water, cashew nuts, lentil flour and coconut oil, the recipe has become a hit with consumers, with Hello Pant Foods selling out 35,000 units across Spain by end of the year — 30,000 more than it had initially planned to deliver to grocery stores for the 2022 holiday season.

Fuah’s success is an indication that alternative protein innovation doesn’t only happen in the lab but can also be found in the kitchen. By combining simple ingredients in the right way with the right flavors, FoodTech firms like Hello Plant Foods can tap into the appetite for a highly sought-after local product.

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