Swiss upcycled ingredient startup seeks commercial partners

A Swiss startup is scouting for partnerships after securing financial support for its novel use of food byproducts to create ingredients for personal care and other industries.

Following a successful spin-off from Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Gaia Tech has closed a first financing round and secured support from the Migros Pioneer Fund, Innosuisse, the Bern Economic Development Agency and the School of Food Sciences (HAFL).

The Bern outfit says distributors, suppliers and manufacturers wanting to start or expand their upcycled portfolio are a great match for the startup.

At ETH Zurich, Gaia Tech founder Claudio Reinhard (pictured, right) has developed a process to extract high-quality antioxidants from olive pomace.

The innovative treatment begins with the separation of the solid and liquid components of the olive pomace.

The liquid part is then passed through a specially developed biosorbent material, which absorbs the antioxidants.

The absorber is made of a fully biodegradable material and can be used several times before being applied as agricultural fertilizer at the end of its life cycle.

In the last step, the antioxidant extract is purified in order to be incorporated into industrial products.

The startup's first product, an olive antioxidant extract, is currently being tested by leading industrial partners for diverse applications, from anti-aging cosmetics to natural food preservation.

“Gaia Tech aims to expand the product range and scale the technology to other types of agrifood byproducts, to fully support the industry in substituting synthetic and fossil ingredients,” a spokesman said.

“The team is excited to become a trusted partner in the transformative years ahead and elaborate innovative ingredients from bio-based sources,” he added.

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