Class of 2021
“Being delicious is not enough – it has to be deliciously good for the planet too” is the motivation behind tech disruptor Matias Muchnick’s work. At the crossroads between artificial intelligence, deep science and food production, Matias’ company NotCo aims to reshape the food industry with plant-based products that replicate animal-based ones in molecular structure, taste, smell and texture.
After founding vegan food company Eggless in Chile and studying at Berkeley and Harvard Universities in the US, Matias saw that the food industry operated on inefficient, obsolete technology. He looked up to the pharmaceutical sector, which used machine learning technology to constantly innovate. These observations led to the creation of NotCo, which he founded with computer science PhD Karin Pichara and biochemist Pablo Zamora. The company uses an algorithm to analyse the molecular, physical and chemical characteristics of animal food, and to come up with combinations of plant-based ingredients that replicate the animal protein structure.
The production process of the company’s NotMilk – a plant-based milk alternative – uses 92% less water and 74% less energy than regular milk, and creates 74% less Co2 emissions, making it not only delicious, but also good for the planet. NotCo’s products use ingredients such as pea protein, chicory root fibre and cabbage juice concentrate to offer plant-based alternatives to mayo, ice cream and burgers. With products already on sale in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and the US, and with Jeff Bezos among NotCo’s investors, the company is on a path to truly disrupt the industry.
“Eating animal products harms our planet – fact. So our mission is simple: to take animals out of food production while never, ever compromising on taste.” – Matias Muchnick