Interviews

The Cultivated B: “There Will Be No Sustainable Protein Future Without a Sustainable Business Model”

Dr Wolfgang Kühnl is the managing partner of Germany’s InFamily Foods Holding GmbH & Co. KG. The son of an entrepreneurial family, Dr Kühnl studied food technology and biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich and completed his doctorate at the Chair of Food Process Engineering and Dairy Technology.

In 2011, Dr Wolfgang Kühnl joined his parents’ company H. Kemper GmbH & Co. KG, which he has managed as a managing partner since 2015. Since 2020, Dr Wolfgang Kühnl has been one of two Managing Partners of InFamily Foods Holding, which was formed from the merger with Reinert. The group of companies consists of The Family Butchers (animal protein products), The Plantly Butchers (plant-based protein products), and The Cultivated B (alternative protein sources).

With The Cultivated B (TCB) offering equipment solutions for cellular agriculture, could you elaborate on how TCB’s bioprocessing solutions cater to the challenge in the industry to scale products for the mass market?
The Cultivated B provides convergent end-to-end technological solutions for the food industry and beyond. Our scientific teams develop proprietary know-how in cellular agriculture, precision fermentation in various organisms, and fit-for-purpose bioreactors. With a view to commercial viability and scalability of bioprocessing solutions, we focus on cost-cutting for equipment and production, user-friendly processes with increased efficiency, and seamless transition from proof-of-concept to pilot and industrial scale.

The Cultivated B
© The Cultivated B

What distinguishes your customized solutions for protein production? Are there differences in the needs of and solutions for start-ups, corporations, and academic institutions in the cellular agriculture industry?
The needs within cellular agriculture technologies do not necessarily depend on the size or age of the company/ institution but rather on the volume and bioprocess of interest. Our bioreactors are designed and engineered to meet the specific requirements of the biological process they are intended to support. Utilizing model-based systems engineering allows us to offer rapid-delivery manufacturing, which shortens usual production times of more than 1 year to weeks.  Furthermore, we offer a large range of volumes from benchtop to industrial scale.

Can you share how ANUGA FoodTec went for The Cultivated B (TCB), particularly in terms of the reception and feedback from visitors regarding your showcased bioreactors and technologies?
We presented our fit-for-purpose bioreactors for the first time in public at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne. The presentation of our pioneering technology has positioned us on the industry’s radar. We experienced an incredibly positive interest in the technologies and innovations of the future and were able to network with everyone from startups to big players. Now we are excited to continue the conversations and see the impact next-gen bioprocessing can have.

The Cultivated B. facility in Germany
© The Cultivated B.

PreFer Industries, as a subsidiary of The Cultivated B, focuses on alternative protein sources through precision fermentation. What specific solutions and products does PreFer Industries offer, and how do these stand out to meet the diverse needs of your customers?
PreFer Industries focuses on alternative protein sources, particularly plant-based protein sources, through precision fermentation. We are serving various industries with proteins and peptides of excellent functionality, including proteins that are typically animal-derived.

“We believe that feeding a growing world population will need diversified proteins from animal, plant-based and biotech origin.”

First, we focus on understanding partners’ needs and then deliver a multitude of customized, sustainable solutions, leveraging an extensive set of internal technology platforms. With a focus on excellent functionality such as taste, texture, and color profiles, PreFer Industries enables customers to meet consumers’ needs – not only in the food industry but also in pharma, cosmetics, and personal care.

The Cultivated B
©The Cultivated B

Looking ahead, what do you think the future of protein production will look like?
Building a sustainable protein future starts with an ideology-free core principle for the supply of current and future generations. This is exactly where our mission “Best Proteins For You” comes in. We believe that feeding a growing world population will need diversified proteins from animal, plant-based and biotech origin. None of these three sources will become redundant in the future. The established and the new protein sources will need to fulfill the demands of future consumers concerning quality, sustainability and primarily price. Needless to say, there will be no sustainable protein future without a sustainable business model, especially in the field of alternative proteins.

“We are excited to see how future protein production will impact the way we nurture ourselves”

We are hoping to encourage a collaborative approach for the field to enable each other. We genuinely believe that the challenges are best addressed if we distribute the labor and benefit from synergies and networking effects. We are excited to see how future protein production will impact the way we nurture ourselves. This will be based not on habits, availability or on geographical proximity to resources but on exact physiological needs.

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