PAMPLONA, SPAIN — Food-tech startup Cocuus set a goal to produce as much as 1,000 tonnes of 3D-printed, plant-based bacon in 2024 at a recently opened industrial facility in Northern Spain. The facility will manufacture alternative proteins at an industrial scale for sale in supermarkets and other channels. In October of 2023, it introduced its 3D printed, plant-based bacon at approximately 400 Carrefour supermarkets in Spain under the Foody’s brand.
Cocuus currently produces 250 kilograms of plant-based bacon an hour at the facility with a single machine and will expand to include large-scale production of vegan tuna and vegan shrimp in a second stage.
“Mass production of tasty and healthful alternative proteins is urgent both for food security and the environment,” said Patxi Larrumbe, chairman and co-founder of Cocuus. “For Cocuus, reaching industrial scale is a key milestone and testament of years of research and development, guided by industry leaders such as Cargill. And this new facility is just the beginning.”
In addition to plant-based products, Cocuus develops new ways to upcycle off-cuts and trim meat using its proprietary technology to 3D print prime cuts. The technology offers the meat industry new meat-based products with nutrition in mind. For example, steaks enriched with Omega 3 or low cholesterol.
Since the company’s founding in 2017, Cocuus has raised $8.8 million in capital and financing. US ag and food company Cargill, venture capital firm Big Idea Ventures and food-tech accelerator Eatable Adventures invested early and have contributed funding for the new facility.
“As the demand for protein continues to rise, Cargill has the unique ability to bring the best proteins — both animal and plant-based — to the most people, in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Geert Maesmans, Global Research & Innovation leader for Health & Nutrition, Cargill Food Solutions, Wayzata, Minn. “By combining our research and innovation capabilities with Cocuus’ unique technology, together we can unlock distinct alternative protein solutions.”
Cocuus and Cargill entered a strategic partnership based on innovation in alternative proteins and specialized nutrition in the summer of 2022, helping Cocuus progress on scaling up its technology for producing plant-based bacon.