Santiago-based vegan food tech company The Not Company is on a mission to transform the Latin American food market. And once it has done that, it wants to do the same thing globally.
Much like its American rival, the vegan egg company JUST, The Not Company’s first product was vegan mayo – an appropriate choice, as Chile is the third largest market for mayonnaise in the world. The company currently pumps out around 64 tonnes of mayo a month. However, it doesn’t intend to stop there–vegan milk is due for release in September, yogurt and ice cream are on the way in 2019, and sausage and ground meat is set to launch in 2020.
Founded by Matias Muchnick, along with Karim Pichara, originally an astrophysicist, and Pablo Zamora, a university researcher specializing in plant genomics, the Not Company uses science to create its products that mimic the taste, smell, and feel of real animal-based foods. A machine, named “Giuseppe,” which maps the similarities between plants and meat is used, Muchnick told Tech Crunch. “If we can map the genome of a lentil or whatever bean there is, you could easily understand and predict whether that bean could emulate an animal-based protein,” he explained.
He added, “We have mapped 7,000 plants and we don’t think we need more than that. We mapped them for their amino acetic structures…that looked like animal-based proteins.”
The idea for the food tech company was born in the U.S. but developed in Santiago, claims Muchnik, because the three co-founders saw a greater need in Chile for healthier, plant-based products with a low environmental impact. Cheap, high-calorie foods are contributing to malnutrition in the country — and across Latin America. After Chile, The Not Company intends to tackle the Brazillian and Argentinian markets next, helped by $3 million of funding it raised recently from Kaszek Ventures and SOS Ventures.
“We’re deciding to build local processing plants,” said Muchnick. “We will begin distributing our product in Brazil and Argentina through exports. Once we have 5% or 8% of the marketshare…then we will expand with a processing plant locally.”