MOA Foodtech is a Spanish startup that combines biotechnology and artificial intelligence to transform waste and by-products from the agri-food industry into a 100% sustainable ‘‘new generation protein” of high nutritional value. Their goal is to implement new technologies that promote a fairer, more compassionate, and more sustainable food system while still being appealing to consumers.
We had the opportunity to interview Bosco Emparanza García, CEO and founder of MOA Foodtech, one year after going through our Accelerator Program. Discover what this meant to them, the advice he still retains, and how he sees MOA Foodtech in the future.
How did the idea of founding a company as MOA Foodtech arise? What is the main goal of the company?
The world is currently in a critical environmental situation. By 2050, agriculture will need to feed 40% more people, produce 70% more food, using only 10% more land.
The whole MOA team was concerned about the situation and the huge impact the agri-food industry has. For this reason, the three founding partners, Susana, José María, and I, made this decision to leave our jobs as scientific directors in a biopharmaceutical, M&A, and commercial company, respectively. As a step towards developing a sustainable agriculture-food model, we set out to investigate the following: Can we use waste and by-products from the agri-food industry to produce high-value food using biotechnology?
What were the benefits of working with Eatable Adventures in your first steps until the business was consolidated?
The beginning of our journey was a time of uncertainty. That same year was the confinement, and we found ourselves leaving our jobs. At that point, the Eatable Adventures team came on board; they believed in the project and shared our ambition. The solution we wanted had to be global, and thanks to Eatable’s way of working and networking, we were able to start a global project. As time passed, the most rewarding and intense hours of the week were our meetings with Mila and José Luis, when we wrote down our plans to overcome the next hurdle, and we did.
What is the most valuable piece of advice José Luis has given you in our Acceleration Program?
Having spent so many hours working together, it is impossible to choose just one. But without a doubt, there have been two in particular that made us change our approach and begin to see things more clearly.
The first, and undoubtedly essential, was that we had to seek international investment. This was the best way to position ourselves as a credible project and thus begin to grow.
And the second was to consider what we really were. Instead of thinking, we were just a protein manufacturer, we had to think of ourselves as a platform.
What is in the near future for MOA Foodtech and where do you aspire to go in the long term?
Our goal is to be a global project, so we are scaling the technology to an industrial level and developing solutions focusing on the Asian (where protein consumption will grow the most), European and American markets. In addition, we are working on applications not only in meat analogs but also in snacks and dairy analogs. We are also developing new processes utilizing by-products and residues, and perhaps most importantly, we’ve developed an artificial intelligence tool that helps us develop all of the above more efficiently and quickly.
Check out our other Alumni Interviews here.