Israeli food tech startup Yofix, which developed vegan and soy-free fermented plant-based prebiotic and probiotic dairy alternatives, won the top prize at PepsiCo’s European Nutrition Greenhouse Program last week. The program focuses on nutrition food and beverage products aimed at European customers, and is designed “to discover and nurture breakthrough brands” in the sector.
Using its unique formula, Yofix says its yogurts are made with no added sugars, preservatives, thickeners, or colors but retain the texture and flavor of yogurt.
Yofix products are on sale in Israel, but the company says it plans to begin research for foreign markets.
The Israeli startup was one of 10 companies participating in the six-month program, now in its second year. Among the 10 companies were two more Israeli startups – A1C Foods, which makes low-carbohydrate food products, and the Sprouted Grain Company, which makes easy-to-digest whole grains, legumes, flours, nuts, and seeds. Each participating startup received a €20,000 (US $22,872) grant and mentorship from executives.
Yofix, founded in 2015 by Ronen Lavee, won the €100,000 top prize for its expansion, and says it will begin to “explore opportunities in other European markets.”
“Yofix will be launched globally,” says Yofix CEO Steve Grun in a statement. “And, we will be developing new plant-based dairy substitutes for milk, yogurt drinks, cream cheese, coffee creamers and even ice cream. Our proprietary manufacturing technology and formulations are highly flexible and require minimum investment for versatility.”
In 2017, the company raised a $2 million Series A round led by Israeli food and beverage manufacturer Strauss Health, with individual investors from the US, the UK, and Israel.
The company launched its plant-based yogurt line with Strauss Dairies in Israel last month under the ONLY brand in three flavors to target the rapidly expanding demand for vegan, flexitarian, and lactose-intolerance populations.
The start-up was the first company to join The Kitchen, the leading food-tech incubator and seed investor in Israel, and part of the Strauss Group Ltd., the main investor in Yofix.