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Moa Foodtech’s AI-powered platform creates­ sustainable ingredients

Article-Moa Foodtech’s AI-powered platform creates­ sustainable ingredients

© Moa Foodtech Susana Sánchez cofounder CSO_ Bosco Emparanza cogounder and CEO_ copyright MOA Foodtech (1).jpg
By using side streams from the agri-food sector and leveraging proprietary AI algorithms, MOA Foodtech is discovering and developing ingredients with higher nutritional value, better taste, and a more sustainable production process.

Industry produces a huge amount of waste and by-products, which are often used as low value ingredients in livestock feed. At the same time, the food industry needs to find more sustainable ingredients, in order to feed a growing global population.

Finding ways of meeting this need was what brought the three co-founders of MOA Foodtech – CEO Bosco Emparanza, Susana Sanchez (CSO) and Jose Maria Elorza (CFO) – together.

New combinations and optimised bioprocesses

The food industry causes 30% of greenhouse gases globally,” explains Emparanza.And some 70% of the carbon footprint of these companies comes from the ingredients they use. At MOA, we saw a huge opportunity for using biotechnology to build a more circular and sustainable industry.”

A key challenge to overcome was how to use by-products to develop fermentation culture media, one of the company's main pillars. Culture media are designed with raw materials that are fully characterised and stable, with supplies coming from laboratories.

“Although this was a challenge at first, we have seen huge potential in using these by-products thanks to our Albatros AI platform,” says Emparanza. “We have been able to significantly reduce costs, and also increase productivity in many processes, as well as reducing the carbon footprint.”

Emparanza believes that what differentiates MOA Foodtech is its ability to combine an in-depth knowledge of the metabolism of microorganisms with its optimisation algorithm. This finds the perfect match within the company’s by-product database and microbial library.

This enables us to find new and exciting combinations that result in new, optimised bioprocesses,” explains Emparanza. “As such, the key elements to our process are the information obtained through laboratory experiments, as well as of our ever-growing database.”

Redefining ingredient solutions for manufacturers

MOA Foodtech sees its role as redefining ingredient solutions for food producers. The company specialises in enhancing the sensorial profile of plant-based products, tackling formulation challenges and making these products more appealing.

Our yeast ingredient for example delivers nutritional excellence with increased protein, fibre, and B-group vitamins,” says Emparanza. “Our focus on innovation extends to providing differentiation opportunities for food producers, positioning them as industry leaders. We see our role as not just being a supplier, but also as a partner in sustainability, innovation, and success for the evolving needs of the food industry.”

MOA Foodtech has seen growing interest from the plant-based industry. Demand for plant-based alternatives is on the rise, and the company’s focus on improving the sensorial profile of these products and reducing off-notes has attracted attention and positive feedback.

“There is also growing interest from meat producers looking to explore hybrid products,” says Emparanza. “The unique properties of our ingredient make it a versatile choice for creating innovative and differentiated products. We see interest from meat producers as recognition of the potential of our solutions to bridge the gap between traditional and alternative protein sources.”

More efficient fermentation processes

MOA Foodtech was a finalist at Fi Europe’s Start Up Innovation Challenge in the category, Most innovative service or ai solution supporting the food and beverage industry.

It was an honour to participate and compete with other startups with the same ambition to build a more sustainable industry,” says Emparanza. “Moreover, FI Europe is the right environment to generate new synergies with industry, and the circular economy is all about synergies.”

Moving forward, Emparanza sees the platform becoming more and more advanced, allowing the team to use new by-products and to develop more efficient fermentation processes.

“We are also reaching agreements with companies that produce huge quantities of by-products to develop new processes,” he says. “Our goal is to be the leader in the use of by-products for the development of new ingredients and processes. This has also caught the attention of other sectors and industries.”