Ahead of their participation at Future Food-Tech, we spoke to Boaz Noy, CEO and Co-Founder at NextFerm Technologies to learn more about the strategies behind their impressive growth including value chain ownership and tackling commercialisation.

Can you tell us about your journey from an early-stage start-up to the success you have achieved today?

Boaz Noy, CEO and Co-Founder, NextFerm

I co-founded NextFerm with Dr. Moran Gendleman and Dr Tzafra Cohen shortly after leaving Enzymotec.

As a brief background, both myself and Tzafra worked together as senior VPs in Enyzmotec, which was a food-tech company and developed high-end B2B ingredients with science and technology and achieved significant success that eventually led to $80 M annual turnover and a Nasdaq IPO with a $300 M valuation back in 2013.

Today, NextFerm senior management is comprised of the previous senior management of Enzymotec.  We remain passionate about the field of nutrition and technology, and we enjoy working with each other.

NextFerm was founded on the idea of using yeast fermentation as the ultimate source for better nutrition. Everyone recognises the sustainability aspect of (yeast) fermentation and high nutritional value of the products and by-products of the fermentation process. Our journey was to develop alternative, non-GMO, vegan Protein with animal-like nutritional value and neutral flavour and we are glad to share that we’ve already scaled up and are working to supply commercial quantities of ProtevinTM, which delivers exactly those advantages.

Our strategy is to control the whole value chain. Hence, we are involved in all aspects of the value chain, from the discovery to fermentation, to the separation and purification to the production, distribution, IP, regulatory and clinical work. They are an essential part of how and where we focus our efforts.

Another huge advantage of our technology is the lack of regulatory constraints for the commercialisation of ProtevinTM in the USA, Europe and elsewhere because yeast as a food, and yeast by-products is a food used by humans for decades and already well regulated and there are no special requirements with our technology.

What have been the key milestones for NextFerm?

The initial objective was to prove that our core technology works, that we have the ability to improve yeast strains in a way that is beneficial. We partnered with Lallemand for the development of two yeast strains that were licensed. Nevertheless, our goal has always been to develop, produce and sell our own products.

The second stage at NextFerm was to start releasing products to the market. The first one was Astaferm® – A new, fermented source of astaxanthin, which is the strongest antioxidant in nature. With the technology we have developed, we produce Astaxanthin with significant physical and economic advantages.

The second product is ProteVinTM, which represents in our mind, a vegan 2.0. It is the first vegan, non-GMO protein with a perfect digestibility score, animal-like amino-acid composition and most importantly a neutral flavour.  All of these properties are seriously lacking in current plant protein offering and create for us this huge market opportunity.

What’s unique about your product and how are you accelerating its commercialisation?

Beyond the basic properties of better taste and animal-like nutritional value, ProtevinTM as a straight-forward single source, provides easy applicability and we expect that it will be used as a source of protein for a variety of products.

We have received the first commercial order and are working to expand the demand for the product while setting up the necessary infrastructure for commercialization. In terms of the food categories, ProtevinTM clearly places well where flavour and nutrition play a major role for example: dairy alternatives, nutrition bars, sports nutrition and special populations such as: seniors and babies.

What role do partnerships and collaboration play in your business strategy? Have you met anyone, or can you share any success story that has been a result of taking part in a past Future Food-Tech summit?

At NextFerm we have experience in working with large companies, we understand how they operate, and we are capable of managing these relationships. Our past work with Lallemand could serve as a perfect example of building trust, sharing ideas and eventually commercializing.

What motivates you as an innovator to drive forward change within the food industry?

Innovation excites me. Connecting between businesses, technology and people for me is the greatest motivator.

What advice would you give to aspiring food-tech innovators who, like you are focused on accelerating change and transforming the future of food?

Here are two pieces of advice that have been always part of our DNA

  1. Open your mind: Absorb as much information, knowledge, and experience from others as you can because you really don’t know how complicated it is to put a food ingredient or product on a shelf
  2. Don’t get discouraged: Love the word ‘no’ and appreciate criticism. Understanding this will simply support you in building a better product

What is your main priority when it comes to scaling solutions in personal health and nutrition at NextFerm?

NextFerm has developed a profitable supply chain for Astaferm® with a large capacity to support the sales in North America and beyond.  Similarly, we are working to set up a supply chain for ProtevinTM that will enable us to supply large quantities in a competitive and profitable price and cost structure.

What’s next for NextFerm?

Our biggest mission is to launch and commercialize ProteVinTM as quickly and as strongly as we possibly can.

Boaz will be speaking on the panel ‘Plant-Based 3.0: Moving Beyond Nutrition to Optimal Health’ at Future Food-Tech on September 30-October 1.

Joining him will be:
Nicole Astra, Broadcast JournalistTALKING PLANT PROTEIN
Dominik Grabinski, Co-Founder and CTO, NOWADAYS
Phil MackieManaging Partner, Food and BeverageSAGENTIA INNOVATION
Marc Coloma, 
Co-Founder and CEO, HEURA FOODS