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Phytolon Raises $14.5 Million for Food Coloring Alternatives


Co-founders of Phytolon — left Dr. Halim Jubran, CEO and Dr. Tal Zeltzer, CTO

Phytolon, an Israeli foodtech startup that develops fermentation-based natural food colors, raised $14.5 million in a Series A round of funding, led by DSM Venturing.

Startups working on new food products are not just all about meat and dairy alternatives, or ways to produce food from just a few copied cells and a 3D printer. Sure, there are all sorts of firms doing just that like Redefine Meat which applies its proprietary 3D printing technology, meat digital modeling, and advanced food formulations to produce animal-free meat with the “appearance, texture and flavor of whole muscle meat.” And Imagindairy is an Israeli FoodTech startup that develops animal-free milk proteins.

But there are also companies developing new ways to enhance the taste, smell and colors of all sorts of foods. And this new tech can be incorporated into meat and dairy alternative products.

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Founded in 2018 by Dr. Halim Jubran, CEO and Dr. Tal Zeltzer, CTO, based on licensed technology through the Weizmann Institute of Science, Phytolon leverages a proprietary, fermentation-based technology to produce plant-based food colors. Phytolon offers natural food colors, which it claims are “uniquely positioned” to comply with the consumers’ needs for healthy food, and with the industry requirements for cost-efficiency and high quality. Phytolon leverages a novel and sustainable fermentation-based technology by which betalain natural colors are produced in baker’s yeast.

The company explains that fermentation harnesses safe microbes to manufacture food ingredients in a consistent, sustainable and cost-efficient manner. With increasing regulatory acceptance and the highly sustainable approach of reducing carbon footprint by replacing agriculture with cleaner technologies, says Phyloton, fermentation is designated to become the ingredient engine of the future.

Betalains are natural pigments responsible for coloring the most beautiful plants on earth. Betalains are water-soluble pigments that retain color stability at wide pH range, and upon exposure to heat and light. Betalains provide multiple benefits for human health, and are considered among the strongest antioxidant phytochemicals known, exceeding the most well-known antioxidant dietary nutrients.

Since its establishment, Phytolon has been awarded many accolades: a finalist at MassChallenge Israel 2020, AgriVest 2019, Slingshot 2019 and a runner-up in the Calcalist-Tnuva Foodtech 2019 competition.

Dr. Halim Jubran, Co-founder and CEO of Phytolon, said: “The investments of DSM Venturing, Cibus Fund, and Ginkgo Bioworks open the door for broad penetration of our products in the global food industry. We are excited to have new investors who share our vision to create healthy, efficient, and sustainable food systems via biotechnology.”



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