Biotech startup Enifer has made a significant leap in sustainable food production by securing over €12 million in grants from Business Finland. This funding, part of the EU’s NextGenerationEU instrument, is a strategic investment in Enifer’s groundbreaking PEKILO mycoprotein factory. This initiative aligns perfectly with the circular economy action plan and Finland’s Sustainable Growth Programme.
Enifer’s upcoming factory is set to revolutionize the food industry with its commercial-scale production of PEKILO mycoprotein. Utilizing fungal fermentation, this facility will leverage the PEKILO process, a pioneering method developed in the 1970s for converting forest industry by-products into sustainable feed protein.
The revamped process now produces a food-grade ingredient, characterized by its neutral taste and color, and rich in protein and fiber. With regulatory approval expected in the first half of 2024, this product is poised to become a key player in the plant-based protein market.
Transformative Impact and Future Prospects
The new facility, with an investment of €30 million, aims for completion by the end of 2025. It is expected to annually produce 3 million kg of sustainable, locally sourced PEKILO mycoprotein. This production volume is equivalent to the protein yield from 30,000 cows, but with at least 20 times lower carbon emissions, significantly reducing water and land use. Full-scale production is anticipated to ramp up in 2026, with the facility’s location in the Uusimaa region to be announced in Q1/2024.
Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of Enifer, expressed his enthusiasm: “It’s a privilege to complete the mission started over 50 years ago, taking PEKILO from a concept to a universal protein source. This plant is a critical step in scaling PEKILO’s production for global commercialization across various applications.”
Journey and Vision
Founded in 2020 as a spin-off from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Enifer has been at the forefront of advancing PEKILO technology. The company has already established significant partnerships with major global players in the feed and food industries, including Skretting, Purina, and Valio. Following a successful €11M Series A Funding in spring 2023, Enifer is well-positioned to lead the way in sustainable protein production.
This latest funding milestone not only underscores Enifer’s innovative approach but also highlights the growing importance of sustainable food sources in our global economy. With its unique history and cutting-edge technology, Enifer is set to make a significant impact on the future of food production.