- Cargill and Spanish food tech company Cubiq Foods have product co-development and commercial go-to-market agreements that will help develop Cubiq’s technologies and products.
- Cargill will add Cubiq’s plant-based “smarter fats” — including its Go!Drop emulsion of vegetable oils and water — to its ingredients and plant-based formulation offerings. In a statement, Cubiq CEO Andrés Montefeltro said having a product that is ready to be used for application development and widespread commercialization represents a vital milestone in the company’s development.
- Cargill invested in Cubiq’s $5.75 million funding round last May. Part of the funding agreement between Cargill and the food tech company included eventually reaching this development and commercialization agreement.
As one of the world’s largest meat companies — and an entity that is expecting the plant-based sector to eat away at the traditional meat industry’s sales and profits — it makes sense for Cargill to work toward partnerships that help establish better and more realistic plant-based alternatives.
Cubiq has been improving alternatives through fats. It got its start with plant-based fats using a process that can convert liquid oils into solid or semi-solid fats for a healthier and more natural pairing in plant-based meat. The Go!Drop line, which is now available on Cargill’s website, is an example of this work.
But Cubiq is not just a plant-based fats company. It’s also been working on cultivated fat, which comes directly from growing animal fat cells. Cubiq first announced its plans in the cell-based fat sector in 2019, and its cultivated fat is not yet on the market.
Cargill has a similar relationship with pea protein ingredient maker Puris. Through their joint venture agreement, Cargill helps manufacturers formulate with Puris pea protein and offers its ingredients to manufacturers. In 2018 and 2019, Cargill invested $100 million in Puris to scale up its production and processing of pea protein ingredients.
If Cargill’s agreement with Cubiq turns out to be anything like the one with Puris, it has the potential to have a much wider impact on alternative meat and dairy products. Since Cargill’s investment in Puris in 2019, the pea protein market has exploded in popularity, and both Cargill and Puris have benefited from the agreement. In addition to its pea protein, Puris has bolstered its offerings by adding sweet lupin flour and a consumer product line of plant-based eggs.
Cubiq is one of many companies working to create plant-based fats that perform better in terms of taste, nutrition, calories and ingredient lists. But the plant-based partnership also gives Cubiq an opportunity to work with Cargill on developing products and commercializing cultivated fat.
To date, there are a few other partnerships to get cultivated fat to the market, but they are much smaller. Steakholder Foods’ cultivated fat subsidiary signed a partnership with mycoprotein meat analog maker Enough last May. Mission Barns has an agreement to add its cultivated fat to a plant-based product from Silva Sausage.
Mirai Foods has a partership with Germany’s Rügenwalder Mühle for plant-based meat with cultivated fat. But none of these companies has the reach, finances and worldwide business of Cargill, which could do a lot to advance cultivated fat.