The food industry is one of the most profitable around the world. Even with the current challenges, it still has millions of employees worldwide that cover all the demand. Technology has also affected the industry in a big way, innovating production, commercialization, and even how we eat.
However, with the development and industrialization of food in the last century, the environmental damage has increased significantly. Contamination of water sources, incrementation of greenhouse gases, deforestation, and more add to this. Due to these issues as well as the popularity of vegan/vegetarian movements, many companies from the food industry have been looking for new eco-friendly alternatives that allow them to produce food that have no animal ingredients for its preparation but have the same taste; we’re talking about completely delicious vegan products that taste just like original animal food.
Here’s where NotCo comes in. The food tech company based in Chile aims to replicate animal products with a 100% plant-based made product, making sure that the taste is of the same caliber or better, delicious flavor we all love. They aim to work towards a common goal: reinvent the food industry, one bite at a time.
Just plants, not animals
Founded in 2015, NotCo was looking for a way to replicate the existing animal food by using plants and vegetables. Karim Pichara, Matías Muchnick, and Pablo Zamora designed an algorithm that uses AI that predicts which vegetal ingredients should be mixed to have as a result of something similar like milk, mayo, or meat while exploring all the possible plant combinations.
Once they got the formula down and realized they could take animals out of the equation when it comes to creating food, they thought to themselves, “why not?” That gave birth to the name, NotCo.
They named the NotCo’s AI Giuseppe tasked it to evaluate and seek the best plant mix to create an authentic animal-like taste in their products. It understands the right mix and quantity of the ingredients used to replicate these foods as well as the proper cooking time in order to have the same color, smell, texture, flavor, and nutritional content of an animal-origin product.
Furthermore, NotCo’s Giuseppe uses machine learning technology that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being directly programmed for it. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves.
Thanks to machine learning, Giuseppe is capable of analyzing the animal base molecular structure for then replicating it by using plants only. This way, NotCo found the fastest and more effective way of working to recreate these complex animal flavors using all the 300,000 plants species available around the world.
NotCo products are considered a less harmful and healthier way to produce and consume food. The company uses 32.5% less energy 83% less water in the production process and generates 37% less CO2 than a regular animal product. Due to this, the company’s plant-based products are today the healthier and more eco-friendly way to produce food.
Today, the company has a few products on the market that stay true to its goals and were borne after many trials and errors: NotMayo, NotMilk, NotIce Cream, NotBurger, and NotChicken. For example, the NotMayo came after eight months of experimenting with Giuseppe, substituting eggs used in regular mayo for chickpeas, along with vegan ingredients that give that same flavor of regular mayo but using only plant-based ingredients.
NotCo plans to expand its brand and launch the NotFoods, where they will include cheese, yogurt, and more products to their NotProducts catalog. To make this dream come true, they were able to reach out and gain investors that support their cause; even Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions is on board with the company’s products.
YouTube: NotCo – Change without changing
Photo credit: The images used are owned by NotCo and have been provided for press usage.