This Startup Raised $6M for Proprietary Grain Process That Creates Next-Gen Flours
Unlike the army of alternative meat and dairy companies, Equii, a San Francisco-based food tech startup has developed a proprietary, non-GMO method of discovering highly nutritious sources of microbial proteins used to ferment grains to produce high-protein grain flours.
Through a specialized fermentation process applied to grains from wheat to oats to rice using strains of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), microbes break down some of the carbohydrates in the grain to release sugars that are then converted into protein - essentially, a process that functionalizes the proteins. However, the company notes that the native proteins remain intact - no new, novel proteins are being created.
The process enables this company to produce flours with protein levels that are three-to-six times that of regular flours, with about half the carbohydrates and all nine essential amino acids, and its first commercial launch is a bread with 10 grams of protein per slice.
The initial focus will be on wheat - a deliberate choice based on an intent to disrupt staple categories like bread and pasta. But the company has other grains in its sights such as oats or rice, which would open doors to disrupting other categories such as breakfast cereals or alternative milks.