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Chr. Hansen accelerates its fermented plant-based activities by joining the MISTA network

Press release   •   Apr 16, 2020 06:32 UTC

Chr. Hansen will invest in fermentation capability including equipment and application staff on site to run collaborative projects and to conduct its own internal research.

Chr. Hansen has joined MISTA, a California-based start-up optimizer focusing on the development of sustainable, innovative foods. With this collaboration, Chr. Hansen wants to further develop fermented plant-based solutions that help customers match this trend, and help create a sustainable and resilient global food system that can feed a growing population.

When it comes to dairy alternatives, consumers are looking for experiences that provide the same health and delicious taste profile as associated with traditional dairy products. Fermented plant-based foods – an industry that is evolving rapidly - can offer excellent options. Driven by a global focus and concern for sustainable food production, the plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to more mainstream. Today, consumers all over the world are enjoying the innovative options for a flexitarian or plant-based diet. In the past 12 months, 160 new brands of fermented plant-based foods have been launched. In the US, plant-based milks now account for more than 10% of the volume of drinking milks.

At MISTA, Chr. Hansen joins world-class food players Givaudan, Danone, Ingredion and Mars, to work with a selected cohort of around 20 start-up companies. It will also collaborate with a range of service partners, venture financers and renowned universities such as UC Davis and UC Berkeley. MISTA brings together the power and expertise of large companies operating in different segments of the value chain, and the agility and fast-paced innovation spirit of start-ups.

Co-creating solutions for a healthier planet
The MISTA premises in San Francisco house a test kitchen, pilot scale production and laboratory facilities, as well as office and function space. Chr. Hansen will invest in fermentation capability including equipment and application staff on site to run collaborative projects and to conduct its own internal research.

“Our foray represents a bold new approach to exploring close-to-market innovation using a tailored ecosystem. It will allow us to participate in building new ideas with innovative start-ups whilst leveraging the power of large and established ingredient and end-product developers. This will accelerate the innovation, and also increase the chance of success, since all parties are working together for the same goal – ultimately co-creating solutions that address the health and wellness of both people and the planet,” says Ross Crittenden, senior director Commercial Development for Plant-based Dairy Alternatives at Chr. Hansen.

Rapid prototyping of sustainable, innovative foods
MISTA provides a platform for rapid and focused innovation with an in-built path for commercialization. “The application work will be plugged into Chr. Hansen’s global network of application centers to ensure efficient dissemination of learnings both ways. It will give us an opportunity to run rapid prototyping directly with potential customers in collaboration with best-in-class ingredient suppliers. Working closely with the other partners will help us to accelerate our research, and ultimately our product development, within the exciting space of fermented plant-based. Chr. Hansen already has a number of solutions in this category, but we are keen to offer even more options to our customers. We also look forward to supporting the other members’ aims of developing exciting, tasty, healthy and sustainable foods, and gaining valuable knowledge and commercialization opportunities along the way,” concludes Ross Crittenden, who will manage Chr. Hansen’s participation in MISTA.

You can find more information about MISTA at

Chr. Hansen is a leading, global bioscience company that develops natural solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. We develop and produce cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors for a rich variety of foods, confectionery, beverages, dietary supplements, animal feed, and plant protection. Our product innovation is based on around 40,000 microbial strains – we like to refer to them as “good bacteria”. Our solutions enable food manufacturers to produce more with less – while also reducing the use of chemicals and other synthetic additives – which makes our products highly relevant in today’s world. Sustainability is an integral part of Chr. Hansen’s vision to improve food and health. In 2019 Chr. Hansen was ranked as the world’s most sustainable company by Corporate Knights thanks to our strong sustainability efforts and our many collaborative partnerships with our customers. We have been delivering value to our partners – and, ultimately, end consumers worldwide – for over 145 years. We are proud that more than one billion people consume products containing our natural ingredients every day. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen.

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