Revolutionizing Plant-Based Meat: Bringing Authentic Flavor to the Table

Cultimate Foods samples

This article is part of a blog series introducing the startup teams of the EIT Food Accelerator Network Helsinki 2023 programme.


The detrimental impact of meat production on the environment is widely recognized, with animal products accounting for approximately 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, a growing number of individuals are considering making the switch to alternative proteins. However, a significant barrier preventing many from fully embracing plant-based options is the perceived lack of authentic taste. This is where Cultimate Foods steps in, offering a groundbreaking solution—an innovative functional ingredient that brings the genuine flavor of the meat to plant-based alternatives.

Unraveling the Science of Flavor

Cultimate Foods understands the intricate science behind taste. Recognizing that fat plays a pivotal role in the flavor profile of meat, they focused their efforts on replicating the specific fat component responsible for delivering a truly satisfying culinary experience. Traditionally, subcutaneous fat, found beneath the skin of meat, has been the primary type of fat.

However, this type of fat contains a lot of saturated fatty acids, contributing to an undesired greasy mouthfeel and associated health risks.

Cultimate Foods' scientists at lab.

Cultimate Foods’ scientists at the lab.

Enter Intramuscular Fat

Intramuscular fat, the revered white marbling found in high-quality meats like Wagyu beef, possesses distinctive fatty acids that create an unparalleled taste and aroma. This type of fat, situated within the muscle fibers, is highly sought after, and its presence and proportion determine the grading systems of meats internationally.

Cultimate Foods has successfully replicated the lipid profile of intramuscular fat, leveraging their proprietary cellular agriculture technology to produce animal fat cells with precise control over the fatty acid composition.

A Clean-Label Solution for Flavor Enhancement

Cultimate’s ingredient is not just another fat alternative—it’s a clean-label solution designed to substitute flavoring in plant-based meat. By incorporating their specialized fat cells, they elevate the taste profile of plant-based products to rival that of traditional meat.

This breakthrough sets Cultimate apart from other fat alternative companies, as they are the sole provider capable of delivering an authentic meat taste to plant-based alternatives. Moreover, by utilizing their advanced technology, they can offer their product at a price point comparable to flavoring ingredients rather than competing with lower-cost vegetable oils or coconut oil.

Creating Hybrid Meat Alternatives

Cultimate Foods supplies their revolutionary ingredient to food companies specializing in plant-based meat categories. Through the integration of Cultimate’s solution, these companies can now create hybrid meat alternative products, combining both plant-based and cultivated ingredients.

This approach has gained traction in the market, exemplified by the success of Good Meat’s chicken nuggets in Singapore. Hybrid solutions cater to the discerning palate of meat eaters, positioning them as the dominant force in the market for the next decade until 100%-cultivated products become industrially viable.

Cultimate Foods' team

Cultimate Foods’ team

Partnering with EIT FAN

Cultimate Foods proudly joins the EIT Food Accelerator Network (EIT FAN), a program perfectly aligned with its current stage of development. Through EIT FAN, they gain invaluable exposure to global food companies such as Danone and Valio, as well as influential ingredient providers like Ingredion.

Collaborative efforts have already commenced, with a corporate collaboration day held in Helsinki, resulting in the drafting of a roadmap for potential pilots with program partners. EIT FAN’s affiliation with VTT, a leading research organization specializing in food sciences and industrial biotechnology, further strengthens Cultimate’s technological validation project, positioning them for success pending grant support from EIT.

Written by George Zheleznyi, Founder&CEO of Cultimate Foods

Find out more about Cultimate Foods on their website, and follow their journey on LinkedIn. Learn more about the EIT FAN Helsinki programme here.

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