In a lawsuit* filed March 9 – weeks after Meati Meals and The Higher Meat Co grew to become embroiled in a legal dispute over IP surrounding mycelium-based meat substitutes – Unattainable Meals is searching for unspecified damages and injunctive aid to “shield its revolutionary know-how and merchandise towards [Motif FoodWorks’] patent infringement.”
The dispute facilities on Unattainable Meals’ heme (soy leghemoglobin), which imparts a red-brown shade and meaty taste that the San Francisco-based agency claims provides its burgers a major edge within the market.
Unattainable Meals: Motif FoodWorks infringes ‘761 patent ‘straight or by intermediaries’
In response to the lawsuit, Motif FoodWorks – which has simply launched a meaty taste for alt meat purposes referred to as HEMAMI – “has been infringing Unattainable Meals’ patents, together with no less than United States Patent No. 10,863,761, and continues to take action by the current date.”
Whereas Motif is just not a CPG firm, it “has made and demonstrated a duplicate burger at commerce exhibits” that “infringes the ’761 Patent,” claimed Unattainable Meals, which notes that burgers containing HEMAMI have additionally been bought by Motif’s companions together with restaurant chain Coolgreens.
“On data and perception, defendant (Motif) has been and is now infringing no less than declare 1 of the ’761 Patent in the US by, amongst different issues, straight or by intermediaries, making, utilizing, promoting, and/or providing on the market an imitation burger together with HEMAMI.”
Motif FoodWorks: Lawsuit a ‘baseless try by Unattainable Meals to stifle competitors and restrict client alternative’
Nevertheless, a Motif spokesperson informed FoodNavigator-USA that the grievance is “not supported by info or the regulation and is nothing greater than a baseless try by Unattainable Meals to stifle competitors, restrict client alternative, and impede Motif, a brand new and revolutionary firm with important enterprise momentum.”
The spokesperson added: “We intend to contest these allegations vigorously and can reply by the suitable authorized channels. We are going to proceed to pursue our go-to-market technique and work in the direction of our mission to deliver higher tasting, nutritious and sustainable meals to the world.”
How do the elements evaluate?
So what data is publicly obtainable in regards to the two corporations’ respective ‘meaty-tasting’ elements?
In response to a GRAS notice from Unattainable Meals, its flagship ingredient soy leghemoglobin is a protein present in nodules connected to the roots of nitrogen-fixing vegetation reminiscent of soy that Unattainable Meals produces by way of a genetically engineered pressure of Pichia pastoris (a yeast broadly used for manufacturing of recombinant proteins and meals enzymes), the DNA of which has been retooled to supply leghemoglobin.
Its ‘LegH Prep’ ingredient combines soy leghemoglobin protein, Pichia yeast proteins, salt, and sodium ascorbate, imparting a red-brown shade and ‘meaty’ taste that Unattainable Meals claims provides its merchandise a major edge within the market.
In response to the GRAS discover, “As soon as cooked and digested, each soy leghemoglobin and animal-based myoglobin launch similar heme B molecules into the digestive system.”
Motif CTO: HEMAMI ‘has a singular taste profile that gives a really genuine meaty expertise’
In response to Motif FoodWorks’ GRAS notice, the ingredient it has branded as HEMAMI is myoglobin, a heme-binding protein discovered within the muscle tissue of cows that Motif is expressing in a genetically engineered pressure of Pichia pastoris yeast.
The myoglobin preparation is meant to be used at inclusion charges of ≤2% to “mimic flavors related to cooked floor meat” in recent or frozen plant-based burgers, patties, sausages, and different meat analogs.
Requested in a current interview with FoodNavigator-USA how Motif’s myoglobin in comparison with Unattainable Meals’ soy leghemoglobin, Motif CTO Mike Leonard mentioned: “It is a totally different protein. The operative property is that it binds iron, and brings all the advantages from a sensory standpoint that include that. It has a singular taste profile that gives a really genuine meaty expertise. It is the identical protein you discover in muscle tissue of cows.”
The ingredient has been examined with shoppers with thrilling outcomes, added Leonard. “The suggestions we have obtained has been actually great; we’re a b2b firm however we go all the best way to completed product design, as a result of that is one of the best ways to showcase how our know-how actually supplies a profit for shoppers.”
Unattainable Meals: ‘Our IP and our model are distinctive differentiators’
Requested about its IP round heme in an interview with FoodNavigator-USA in 2019, Unattainable Meals’ former CFO David Lee informed us: “Our IP and our model are distinctive differentiators…
“I’m not an IP lawyer, however I do know that our globally issued patents cowl using heme, any heme, in plant-based meat and I believe now we have a singular set of know-how to make heme in a top quality low value manner. I can’t touch upon others and their approaches, however I do suppose that this precludes others from an IP standpoint from utilizing heme to make scrumptious meat.”
*The case is Unattainable Meals v Motif FoodWorks. Case #1:22-cv-00311 filed March 9, 2022.
San Francisco-based Impossible Foods, based in 2011 by Dr Pat Brown, entered the foodservice market in 2016 and made an aggressive push into retail in 2020. It doesn’t disclose revenues, however its merchandise at the moment are bought in 1000’s of grocery shops and foodservice places throughout the US, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The agency – which has a acknowledged objective to “produce a full vary of meats and dairy merchandise for each cultural area on this planet” – is best-known for its beef, pork, and hen substitutes. Nevertheless, it can also be engaged on steak, seafood, and eggs, and has teased a plant-based milk product claimed to be “higher than something that comes from a cow.”
Motif FoodWorks – a Boston-based startup centered on high-impact elements that may be added to plant- primarily based meat and dairy formulations in small portions however make a major distinction to the consuming expertise – not too long ago raised $226m in Sequence B funding, bringing its cumulative funding to $345m.
Powered by Ginkgo Bioworks’ artificial biology platform, Motif was based in early 2019. Its first two elements are HEMAMI: a protein that “supplies a really genuine meaty expertise;” and APPETEX: a hydrogel combining plant-based proteins and carbohydrates that Motif claims can replicate the “springiness, juiciness and chunk related to animal-based connective tissue.”