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Finnish start-up bakes bread packed with protein “made out of thin air”

High-protein bread is the next bold step for Finland-based start-up Solar Foods on its quest to disconnect protein production from agriculture. Earlier this year, the food-tech company announced its breakthrough solution, Solein, which enables natural protein production anywhere by using air and electricity. Using this pioneering ingredient and the company’s food laboratory and test kitchen, Solar Foods has been baking bread, which the company describes as “living magic.”

“We’re fond of saying that science is like magic – only real. When that loaf of bread comes out of the oven, we feel like we are living that magic. At the same time, building up our food lab and test kitchen offers stern proof that our faith in possibilism has not been in vain: we are continuing to make something out of nothing,” says CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Pasi Vainikka.

The high-protein bread is the latest development for the start-up company founded three years ago to find sustainable solutions to protein production. The bread’s key ingredient Solein is a carbon dioxide-binding, single-cell protein produced using water, CO2 and electricity. The company uses a fully natural fermentation process similar to the production of yeast or lactic acid bacteria, which reduces CO2 emissions.

Solar Foods’ process yields a plain protein flour that can be used as a neutral additive across a range of foods, including being used in nutritious food ingredients, plant-based meat alternatives, cultured meat and now, bread.

“Freeing society from the shackles of conventional food production has been a much-needed message in the world today,” Vainikka highlights. “In addition, we’ve been fortunate enough to secure the monetary means to continue our work: Last autumn, we raised €3.5 million (US$3.8 million) from four investors – Fazer Group, Holdix Oy Ab, Turret Oy Ab and Lifeline Ventures – and feel confident that we’re in a great position to keep exploring, working diligently towards the commercial application.”In addition, Vainikka notes that before the actual go-to-market factory investment, Solar Foods is looking to set up a demonstration factory with more updates expected this autumn. The company also recently added experts with backgrounds in food chemistry, bioprocess engineering and brand development.

“We all share the fervent belief that with innovation and technology, there are no barriers we can’t break,” he concludes.

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