Finnish food tech startup SuperGround announced that it has invented a unique food production technology. It helps the food industry improve its efficiency instantly while reducing its environmental impact, such as emissions and food waste—without major investments or any compromise on food safety or taste options. For consumers, SuperGround’s food production technology means that the food industry can offer commonly-known food choices, such as chicken nuggets and meatballs, that are more nutritious and cause less burden on the environment. This enables people to make more sustainable dietary choices without drastically changing their diet or vastly increasing their budget on sustainable food choices.
According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by 2050, we will need to produce 60 percent more food to feed a world population of 9.3 billion. But at the same time, 800 million people globally are undernourished.
The global food industry generates more than one-third of manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Production of animal-based foods—meat, poultry, and dairy products—contributes 57% of emissions linked to the food system. However, the sustainability challenge of the food industry won’t be solely solved with vegan alternatives, such as plant-based protein, as these alternatives still cost more than meat alternatives and require people to change their diet habits. Technology and solutions that instantly enable the production of well-known meat choices more efficiently and sustainably are needed.
One of the holy grails for the food industry has been how to increase the efficiency and sustainability of food production at the same time. Instant food production efficiency and sustainability gains are possible thanks to SuperGround’s food production line, which enables the production of up to 30% more poultry-based food immediately from the same amount of chicken without the need to increase chicken farming. Due to the closed process, zero raw material is lost, reducing food waste.
“Food production companies are trying to achieve cost control and efficiency, while customer demand and more strict regulations put increasing pressure on companies to achieve ambitious sustainability goals. Our food production line technology enables the food industry to instantly produce well-known poultry-based foods more efficiently and sustainably, without major investment or an increase in production costs. This, therefore, makes it easier for consumers to make more sustainable daily food choices without the need to change their dietary habits or spend more on sustainable alternatives,” says Tuomas Koskinen, chairman of the board of SuperGround and one of the investors in the company.
First to crack how to use bones safely and in an unnoticeable way in food production
For centuries, humans have used bones for dietary purposes, such as bone marrow soups. But previously, it has not been possible to use the nutrition and dietary aspect, such as high calcium content, of bone more broadly in food production. Calcium deficiency is a serious problem worldwide as more than 3.5 billion people are at risk of calcium deficiency.
Producing up to 30% more poultry-based food from one chicken is possible due to SuperGround’s food production line technology. It uses an extrusion method enabling using bone safely and in a non-visible way in food production. The extrusion process is also used for producing many vegan proteins. SuperGround has the first implementation that enables the food industry to produce and offer desirable and tasty consumer poultry products.
“We evaluated and tested various food raw materials and then quickly settled on chicken. Chicken is among the most environmentally efficient grown terrestrial animals, consuming the least land and water resources. Around 35–40% of chicken net weight is bones after guts and feathers are removed, making it optimal for our process. Let’s take a chicken nugget as an example. The nuggets look and taste the way consumers are used to but are more nutritious due to higher calcium content, and are produced more efficiently with less environmental impact. It is the same nugget, just better in numerous ways. And consumers no longer need to make the compromise between being sustainable or being price-conscious. Everyone wins—the customer, the food industry and our planet. This is no fantasy or upcoming innovation, but something that is available for the food industry right now,'' says Santtu Vekkeli, CEO and founder of SuperGround and inventor of the solution.
The company has previously gathered seed funding from angel investors for R&D purposes. SuperGround’s food production line technology and solution are now fully ready and proven to work. The company is ready to deliver its food production lines to customers worldwide. The company is open to investor discussions to support its global and sales expansion. The team will demonstrate their technology for the first time at IFFA 2022 in Frankfurt, Germany, between the 14th and 19th of May.
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