This summer Unilever announced the launch of a $120 million venture to scale and commercialize plant-based alternatives to palm oil and fossil-derived cleansing ingredients. Partner in this venture is US-based biotech company Genomatica. “While palm oil will remain an important feedstock to Unilever, these alternative ingredients can play a growing role in diversifying supply chains to drive optionality, sustainability, cost efficiencies and transparency”, their joint press release reads.
Over the past years, the number of companies developing lab-grown alternatives to palm oil has increased. Investors are eager to put millions of dollars into biotech companies that are on a quest to find technology-driven, plant-based alternatives for an ingredient that meets so many commercial demands. With lab-grown palm oil replicas helping to control costs and supply chain risks it is no surprise that the industry embraces the innovation.