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Amid vegan ingredient shortage, IndieBio’s NotCo taps AI for plant-based alternatives
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Hannah DeTavis
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Chilean plant-based food producer NotCo is using AI to find vegan dairy and meat alternatives—even amid supply chain disruptions. Source: NotCo

Plant-based food producer NotCo (IndieBio SF05 2017) has a secret weapon against critical supply chain disruptions, according to Bloomberg’s recent article, “The AI Platform Behind a Bezos-Backed Startup’s Vegan Burgers”. The Chilean-based company is tapping into an artificial intelligence platform named Giuseppe to find an alternative to sunflower oil—a crucial ingredient in one-third of all vegan meat alternatives, and one that has been in short supply because of the war in Ukraine. Giuseppe draws from a large database of plant-based versions of animal products, allowing it to create new formulas based on flavor, texture, color, and nutritional profile.

Bloomberg cites NotCo’s impressive list of investors from Tiger Global, which led the series D, to Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton to Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos. (Notco has raised $363 million.) SOSV is also an investor and Notco is a graduate of SOSV’s IndieBio program. The article also paints the breadth of plant-based producer’s reach across fast food chains globally: NotCo has brought vegan options—both plant-based burgers and milkshakes—to Burger King, Shake Shack, Smash Burger, and Starbucks (among others) throughout Latin America, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. The unicorn startup will release its products in Europe and Asia this year.  

Giuseppe has helped NotCo formulate its two most popular dairy and meat alternative lines, NotMilk and NotBurger, using ingredients as surprising as cabbage juice and as common (to vegan recipes) as pea protein. “What NotCo is trying to do is offer a solution to the entire industry,” NotCo co-founder and CEO Matías Muchnick told Bloomberg. “When you take the animal out of the equation and you replace it with plants, everything gets way more efficient, exponentially.” 

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