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    Steinecker and Food Brewer have signed a cooperation agreement for cell-based production of alternative foods
      19. March 2024

      Steinecker and Food Brewer have signed a cooperation agreement for cell-based production of alternative foods

      00 - Article 39509
      The Steinecker bioreactor on show at the BrauBeviale 2023 is meanwhile up and running at Food Brewer’s plant in Horgen, Switzerland. Krones and Food Brewer have joined forces to test various applications there, and also make the technology available to other companies for experimentation with their own recipes.

      Last autumn, the Krones Group debuted a proprietary bioreactor for biomass fermentation. It is suitable for the biomanufacture of cells based on precision fermentation or cell cultivation. The bioreactor is a system solution developed by Steinecker for the field of alternative food processing that makes it possible to manufacture new food products like alternative proteins for meat substitutes, and whey and egg proteins.

      The ingenious bit: The development team used Steinecker’s knowledge of and technology for fermenting beer, combined it with Krones’ aseptic expertise, and adapted it to accomplish the cell-based manufacturing of new food products. The bioreactor’s heart is a circulation system that has already given years of successful service in brewing applications. “When Krones started to consider embarking on the path towards alternative food processing and precision fermentation, I knew one thing for sure: Nothing could be better suited for these production processes than the technology we’d developed for Poseidon, which is already firmly established in the brewing sector. That is because basically we also work with cells here, but for beer it’s yeasts,” says Alexander Scheidel, Head of Alternative Food Processing at Steinecker. He adds: “Still the idea as such is not enough on its own. You need open-minded, forward-thinking partners, too, who are prepared to invest in such a technology and to accompany you along that road.” And Steinecker found that partner – the Swiss start-up Food Brewer.

      Both companies recently signed a cooperation agreement in order to exploit synergies for their R&D work and market entry plans. They have joined forces to test various applications, and also make the technology available to other companies for experimentation with their own recipes. “We at Krones and Steinecker hope that this cooperation will enable us to put Poseidon through its paces in regard to alternative food processing and thus validate it. To make sure the test results obtained are as broadly based as possible, the cooperation agreement includes a clause to the effect that Food Brewer can also use the bioreactor as a pilot system for experiments carried out for other customers,” explains Maike Fischer, Sales Food and Beverage at Krones. “The Krones Group is one of the world’s leading companies in precisely the field that is of vital importance for us and our future success: in machinery and plant manufacture with in-depth expertise in handling liquids and liquid nutrients,” says Christian Schaub, co-founder of Food Brewer and its CEO, and adds: “We are thoroughly convinced of the salient advantages offered by this technology with the circulation system – and our vision is to also win over all other new-food producers.”

      Bioreactor with circulation system – an overview

      The Poseidon fermentation system, a tried-and-tested process used in brewing technology, was the basis for developing the Steinecker bioreactor. Instead of an agitator, the bioreactor features a circulation system equipped with aseptic valve technology from Evoguard and a low-shear aseptic pump from Ampco Pumps. It is installed in a sterile tank with familiar steam and/or condensate barriers and used for cell cultivation or for fermentation. The system is particularly well suited for producers wanting to operate on a large scale: That is because, for tanks larger than 25,000 litres especially, it is far easier and more cost-effective to integrate a circulation system than an agitator.

      About Food Brewer

      Food Brewer is a new-food start-up from Switzerland based in Horgen near Zurich. The company uses fermentation concepts from the brewing industry to make plant-based foods and food ingredients on a sustainable basis. It cultivates natural plant cells, such as coffee and cocoa, and uses them to manufacture cocoa and coffee powder for the food industry, thus offering consumers a sustainable alternative to conventional products.

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