Hyfé Foods turns wasted sugar water into flour amid supply chain crisis

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hyfe Foodsa sustainable food technology company that produces low-carb, high-protein mycelium meal, today announced an oversubscribed $2 million investment led by Engine, the venture capital firm spun off from MIT that invests in early-stage Tough Tech companies. Other investors participating in the pre-seed round include: blue horizon, Caffeinated Capital, Supply Change Capital, Alive, Gaingels, Hack Ventures, and angel investors, including restaurateurs and founders. Additionally, Hyfé received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) through the Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) Accelerator at Argonne National Laboratories. This funding will accelerate Hyfé’s timeline to move to commercialization.

Hyfé Foods valorizes wasted sugar water from food and beverage manufacturers as raw material to produce mycelium meal for a variety of food products. The company has developed a carbon-neutral method to produce affordable flour products that are high in protein, low in carbs and allergen-free. Their technology is versatile across supply chains and environmental conditions; conserve water and improve access to food across society. Flour is a staple that for years has contributed to chronic disease due to its high levels of refined carbohydrates and its importance in diets around the world.

The food system accounts for 70% of all freshwater use and 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Hyfé’s use of recycled water feedstocks not only reduces the water intensity of fermentation, but also diverts these feedstocks from wastewater treatment facilities, which generate significant amounts of methane, a gas greenhouse gas whose global warming potential over 20 years is 84 to 86 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. .

Hyfé believes that the future of food is not only sustainable production, it must also be healthy for people. “A bowl of Hyfé pasta has as much protein as a chicken breast, is high in fiber and contains no refined carbs. We’re on a mission to make food better for you and the planet,” the co-founder said. and CEO Michelle Ruiz.”Hyfé’s Mycelium Flour tastes and acts like wheat flour, allowing people to eat the foods they love without negative health effects. We leverage biotechnology to produce this carbon-neutral ingredient, on a large scale and at very low cost.

In addition to the health benefits, enabling localized production of mycelium benefits humanitarian efforts to address food shortages, as industrial-scale growth of the protein is decoupled from agriculture, allowing production in remote or poor quality agricultural environments.

“In the face of supply chain and climate uncertainty, regionalized production of healthy food is vital for a circular economy and, more importantly, for ensuring global food security. Hyfé stands out because it operates at the intersection of climate and health and uniquely offers a cost-effective solution,” said Katie Rae, CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine. “We were impressed by Michelle and Andrea’s vision to discover a way to produce nutritious food at scale without the need for agriculture, fresh water or lots of space. Diversity of thought, passion for mission, drive and excellence of execution position them for success.

Hyfe Foods was co-founded in 2021 by CEO Michelle Ruiz and CTO Andrea Schoen, former ExxonMobil and LanzaTech engineers. Ruiz, an immigrant from Ecuador, is a Carnegie Mellon chemical engineer with more than a decade of manufacturing experience, with bioengineering expertise in wastewater treatment. Schoen is a Northwestern and University of Wisconsin bioengineer and registered patent agent who supported the start-up of the world’s first commercial-scale gaseous fermentation plant.

About Hyfe Foods

Hyfe Foods is a Chicago-based ingredients company that produces low-carb, high-protein, allergen-free mycelium flour by using fermentation to recycle wasted sugar water from food and beverage manufacturing. To follow their journey, subscribe to their newsletterand follow the founders Michael Ruiz and Andrea Schoen on Twitter.

About the engine

The Engine, spun off from MIT, invests in early-stage companies that solve the world’s biggest problems through a convergence of groundbreaking science, engineering and leadership. We accelerate the path to market for Tough Tech companies through the combination of capital, infrastructure and network. The Engine is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.engine.xyz.

Rachel J. Bradford