- Spanish cultured fat startup Cubiq Foods raised 5 million euros ($5.5 million) in a funding round led by Blue Horizon Ventures and Moira Capital Partners. The investment will help the company accelerate its development of healthy fats and create new products.
- Cubiq Foods is the first company to create cell-based fats high in omega-3s. It was founded by Raquel Revilla, Andrés Montefeltro and Jordi Bladé — who serve as chief science officer, CEO and CFO, respectively — in 2018.
- The company plans to have two products on the market later this year. Cubiq Smart Omega-3 will contain the fatty acids that are good for the brain and heart. The omega-3s can withstand industrial processes and they do not impact the taste of the food. The second product, Cubiq Smart Fat, will enhance the flavor of premium food, as well as cell-based meat.
Cubiq Foods has only been a company for two years, but it's already one of the global leaders in the cell-based meat space.
In a report earlier this month on funding for companies producing cultured alternatives to animal protein, the Good Food Institute said Cubiq is one of the first entities anywhere positioned to have products on the market. By next year, the report stated, Cubiq, Mosa Meats and Memphis Meats all expect to be selling something — though probably at a premium price and in very limited quantity.
In a press release about the new funds, Cubiq's Montefeltro said there should be products on the market sooner.
"We are ready to deliver a new generation of nutritious, healthy and accessible products at industrial scale by the end of this year,” he said in the release.
Cubiq's development has been a bit more under the radar because of the nature of its product. While a consumer will not consume a product made 100% of fat — no matter how many omega-3s it contains — Cubiq's products will be a necessary addition to many finished foods, including the cultured meat that will come from the better known cell-based startups. According to Food Ingredients 1st, Cubiq and Mosa Meats were in discussions last year about a collaboration. It's important to add fat to cell-based meat, since meat from animals is made up of both muscle and fat cells, which add flavor and texture.
This is the second major round of funding for Cubiq, which received 12 million euros (about $13.7 million) in January 2019. When that round came through, the company had plans to build an R&D facility and pilot plant capable of producing 5.6 tons of cell-based fat per year, then scaling up to 700 tons with an additional investment in 2021. The company's website lists both a main office and a factory in Barcelona, so it appears they are on their way.
In a 2019 interview with website Cell.Ag, the company's founders said they decided to produce cell-based animal fat because of the importance of healthy fats in food, as well as the inconsistency of animal fat quality. "Culturing fat following a clean, controlled and scalable process, will guarantee the same fat quality always,” they told the website.
The company is working on projects other than cell-based fat. Last year, the company said it was able to convert liquid oils, including those from sunflowers and olives, into solid fat. This could revolutionize the plant-based meat market because many of those products use coconut oil — which is solid, but high in saturated fat.
Cubiq is working in an area that is vital to nutrition and health, and company founders said they think their products will not only be more nutritious than what's available today, but also more affordable. Cubiq's products could be used by companies making a variety of products ranging from cookies and snacks to pizza and plant-based meat. The funding could assist a range of segments of the industry — as well as help the nascent cell-based meat sector become more tasty.