Ouest France - 01/03/2023
Paris, France-based startup Stem, which specializes in biotechnology, decided to take on the challenge of growing coffee in the lab. The company seeks to produce a kind of cellular plant that gives high quality and more ecological seeds, indicates the Les Echos website. Coffee, whose price soars, requires significant natural resources.
Coffee requires a lot of water and soil. Its cultivation also requires the use of fertilizers and pesticides, explain our colleagues. Stem has developed a technology that involves taking cells from coffee leaves and then soaking them in a vegetable liquid before fermenting them in bioreactors. The startup also aims to develop natural aromas to refine the taste of coffee.
"The idea is to make quality coffee for the general public", explains Tom Clark, co-founder of Young Shoot, quoted by economic media. A prototype already exists. Research on coffee cells had already been carried out in Finland. In 2021, small samples of coffee had been created in the laboratory, but no formula had managed to be commercialized. It is this phase that Stem wants to go through.
Coffee is a market worth 500 billion dollars, or around 469 billion euros, and which may undergo transformations in the coming years. In the face of dwindling arable land, the company sees its cellular coffee technology as an asset. Stem, however, will not be able to put its coffee in consumers' cups right away, warns the economic information site.
It will be necessary first to convince the European authorities. The start-up is also seeking funding to support research and development, establish production and reduce costs. The first market could be Japan, where the Parisian company plans to offer cold and canned coffee.