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Finnish food tech startup Nordic Umami Company grabs €2.6M to scale its umami technology

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Espoo-based sustainable food platform Nordic Umami Company has raised €1.8 million in a seed funding round led by the Nordic Food Tech VC with the participation of Heino Group Oy, Holdix Oy Ab, Vaens Oy and Anne Soininen. The Finnish startup also got an EU & Business Finland Next Generation grant of €800K which brings the startup’s total financing to €2.6M. Nordic Umami Company has developed a technology to extract umami from plant food by-products. The startup aims to become the leading global supplier of vegan umami for the food industry.

In 2021, the Nordic Umami Company introduced a revolutionary fermentation-based technology to extract umami from plant-based industry by-products, followed by the company’s first commercial product, the Meatless Umami Bouillon, one of the first all-natural and sustainable umami sources. Now the company aims to scale the technology into an industrial-sized pilot plant and further develop its products and portfolio for the food industry.

While the Nordic Umami Company focuses on the industrial umami market, it has also made its first three products available for retail sale as proof of concept.

“The emission-reduction benefits of shifting to a plant-based diet are well documented. Yet many people are still deterred by the taste of alternative proteins. Or rather, their lack of taste. Plant-based food often misses what people naturally crave: umami, the deliciousness,” explains the Nordic Umami Company CEO Eetu Viuhkonen.

Reetta Kivelä, the Nordic Umami Company CIO and co-founder, describes the company’s vision. “We found the original idea for natural umami through a real-life problem. We realised that the options for bringing umami to plant foods were limited. All alternatives had health, naturality or sustainability challenges. However, vegan food must also have the fifth basic flavour, umami.”

That’s where the story of the Nordic Umami Company began. With two patents pending, the company develops and manufactures all-natural, sustainable umami from circular ingredients, aiming to accelerate the shift towards a fully sustainable food system. Their mission is not just to make vegetarian food delicious but to upcycle edible food that otherwise would be wasted.

“The need for clean-label umami is increasing globally,” says Viuhkonen. “The driver for the growth is the shift in diets: companies must investigate alternatives to traditional animal-based umami, e-codes and soy.”

Click to read more funding news.

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Jan Ameri
Jan Ameri
Entrepreneur-by-heart – and by actions since 1998. Being an expert in spotting new opportunities and creating new concepts, Jan has been a partner or co-founder in seven different companies in various industries. In the early 2000’s he was pioneering some of the very first WAP, SMS, and interactive TV based wireless games and fantasy sports games in the Nordic countries. Jan loves to watch Shark Tank and The Profit in his free time. And he is an FC Barcelona fan.

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