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  1. ZETA
28 June 2022

Bioprocessing Partnership for Future of Food and Feed

Swiss Bühler Group today announces the formation of a new joint venture with Austrian pharmaceutical and biotechnology company ZETA. The new company, Eridia, will engineer food and feed biotechnology plants primarily in the fields of precision fermentation and cellular agriculture.

ZETA brings extensive experience in scaling pilot scale to industrial biopharma. Bühler is a market leader in providing technology and processing expertise for the food and feed industry and is focused on creating more sustainable value chains for its customers worldwide. Eridia, headquartered in Leobendorf, Austria, is a 50/50 joint venture that will develop solutions to meet the rising global demand for food and feed while reducing the impact on the environment.

“Harnessing bioprocessing for the food and feed industry is not new, but it needs to be applied at scale. Technologies such as precision fermentation and cellular agriculture offer the potential to drastically reduce the land and CO₂ footprints of food and feed production. This is a potential pathway to produce food and feed for a growing world population whilst respecting the limits of the planet. We want to accelerate the development of this market and better serve our customers. ZETA is a fantastic partner with which to achieve this,” says Ian Roberts, chief technology officer at Bühler.

The 50/50 joint venture Eridia will enable Bühler and ZETA to contribute further to the field of precision fermentation as well as to the newer field of cellular agriculture.

Precision fermentation uses microorganisms as cell factories to efficiently produce valuable nutrients and functional ingredients such as proteins, Omega 3-rich oils or natural pigments. Developed further, it can also be used to recreate animal products such as meat or fish. This new field of cellular agriculture can help alleviate the pressure on ecosystems by reducing the impact of food and feed production on arable land, biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions. With cellular agriculture, meat products can be cultivated that are identical in structure and taste to their animal counterpart without raising animals.

Biotech expertise and experience in scaling

ZETA brings experience in biopharma process engineering, having been the selected supplier for major biotech projects globally. With 1,200 highly qualified employees and 22 subsidiaries worldwide, it specialises in the planning, automation, digitisation and qualification of customised biopharmaceutical facilities for aseptic process solutions. ZETA supports the scale-up of fermentation processes from laboratory to industrial production and will apply this expertise to the field of cell culture fermentation for the food industry.

Bühler holds a leading position in the global food and feed industry, contributing to feeding more than two billion people every day. Bühler brings expertise in processing technologies, a deep knowledge of the cost-competitive food and feed markets, and global access to those markets. Bühler is exploring new applications and technology developments in these fields, in line with its target to have solutions ready to multiply that reduce by 50% the energy, waste and water in its customers’ value chains by 2025.

The new company will have its headquarters in Leobendorf, Austria, but also leverage the Bühler innovation campus in Uzwil, Switzerland. Erika Georget, Head of Bioprocessing at Bühler, and Claudia Neuhold, Business Development Food and Biotech at ZETA, will join the managing team of Eridia.

“We are very excited about the joint venture with Bühler. We see this as an opportunity to bring our expertise in biotechnology to bear in order to provide more sustainable pathways for food and feed production at a global scale,” says Andreas Marchler, managing director of ZETA.

“Bühler is simply the right partner for us. We bring our competence and leverage this with Bühler’s market access in order to grow in this exciting segment,” says Claudia Neuhold, Business Development Food and Biotech at ZETA.

“This is a great opportunity to support our customers in their next steps in developing production for the food and feed system. We see that the existing fermentation space for food is already developing further, and cultured foods are progressing well. Eridia allows us to play a key role in the development of these new food and feed businesses,” says Erika Georget, Head of Bioprocessing at Bühler.

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