Celleste Bio co-founder and CTO Hanne Volpin with the brown stuff she hopes to revolutionize. Pic: Lawrence Harris
Israeli start-up Celleste Bio is building momentum to disrupt the chocolate supply chain… by growing cocoa in a lab.
Formed in July, the firm has already attracted the interest of Big Chocolate with Mondelēz International onboard with undisclosed seed funding.
Other backers include food-focused venture capitalist, Barrel Ventures, Israeli agricultural co-op Regba Group and agri-food and medical tech VC, Trendlines.
Celleste Bio’s USP utilizes cell culture to grow high quality cocoa without the plant waste and devastated rainforests and primate populations in west African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana where around 60% of the world’s cocoa is sourced.
“Why grow something where you use less than 1% of the entire biomass of what you are growing?” Celleste Bio co-founder and chief technology officer Hanne Volpin told FoodNavigator-USA. “And why grow a food we really don’t need on increasingly sparse arable land? We could collectively decide never to grow it again or we can get creative and look at alternatives."
“We don't have to wait until we have no more chocolate bunnies to solve that problem. And it turns out companies like Mondelēz International are interested in this for reasons both biological and environmental.”