The ‘elegant’ yeast-based technology solution vowing to disrupt the global beverage industry

By Oliver Morrison contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/georgeclerk
Image: Getty/georgeclerk

Related tags: Yeast, precision fermentation

Buoyed by a fresh $6.4 million fund raise, Denmark-based aroma start-up EvodiaBio says its engineered yeast can make non-alcoholic beer taste better and provide a greener alternative to the growing, transporting and processing of hops.

EvodiaBio recently introduced a ground-breaking technology platform that uses precision fermentation to produce sustainable aromas for the food and beverage industry. The ambitious company has now secured 45 million Danish kroner in additional funding, equalling around $6.4 million.

Founded just one-and-a-half-years ago, EvodiaBio received 14 million kroner in financial support from the BioInnovation Institute, a Danish accelerator funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The remaining 31 million kroner stem from several international industry players, including the German flavour house Symrise and Nordic Foodtech VC, the lead investor.

Jarne Elleholm, co-founder and chairman of EvodiaBio, sees the capital raise as a crucial step in reaching the company’s ambitions. “Our vision is to create a sustainable, global company within the development, production, and commercialization of natural aromatic substances and this funding is our opportunity to realize this vision,” ​he said. “The funding was made possible by a strong support from the BioInnovation Institute and by the great progress we have made during our only one-and-a-half-year lifetime.”

EvodiaBio says it has developed a cutting-edge and sustainable way of producing natural aromas. Through a patented fermentation process, the company has developed an effective method of producing aromas that are usually lost when producing non-alcoholic beer. EvodiaBio’s aromas will empower the brewer to conceive the beer’s desired fulness of flavor, consistently and sustainably.

EvodiaBio’s monoterpenoid aromas are produced using yeast cells that secrete the individual aroma components and are then combined to mimic the aroma profiles of different hops. The result is a natural, pure, and sustainable product.

The technology has been developed after years of research by the scientific co-founders, Professor Sotirios Kampranis, Dr Simon Dusséaux and Dr Victor Forman. EvodiaBio says the approach enables, for the first time, a cost-effective and sustainable biotechnological production of the volatile aroma molecules from hops. Using EvodiaBio’s solution, the brewer avoids depleting limited plant resources, while water and CO2 emissions are reduced by more than 90%.

The company will start by “making non-alcoholic beer taste fantastic”, declared Elleholm. The company’s newly developed aroma blend, called Yops, which it is preparing to launch in 2023, can improve the taste of non-alcoholic beer, and serves as a sustainable alternative to cultivated aroma hops. In the long term, the bio-industrial company will develop aromas for other beverages, perfume, and a range of other segments.

The German flavour and fragrance-producer Symrise said the companies’ shared vision was a contributing factor in the Symrise’s investment. “We are very enthusiastic about this collaboration and ready to support the company on this exciting journey,” ​said Nick Russell, SVP Business Incubation Group at Symrise. “We share with EvodiaBio the same vision for a greener future and believe that the precision fermentation technology developed by the team will greatly contribute to a more sustainable flavour and fragrance industry, starting with non-alcoholic beer applications and with the potential to go much further.”

Also on board the project is the former chairman of Carlsberg and the Carlsberg Foundation Flemming Besenbacher, who was recently appointed board member of EvodiaBio. “As former chairman of Carlsberg, I see huge opportunities for our company, now that our financing is secured,”​ he noted. “EvodiaBio is a very promising project that solves an industry challenge, which I excitedly have been involved in solving, and I look forward to being part of the further developments, we are beginning now.”

An ‘elegant solution’

Founder and partner of Nordic Foodtech VC, Lauri Reuter, added that the EvodiaBio team has discovered an ‘elegant solution’ to a difficult bottle neck in sustainable production of aroma compounds. “A better food system is not only about securing essential nutrition, but also providing the aroma and sensory experiences we love – without depleting scarce resources,”​ he said. “The EvodiaBio team are passionately building a sustainable future that also tastes great.”

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