We had the pleasure of interviewing Anna El Tahchy, Chief Technical Officer of Nourish Ingredients, a startup on a mission to revolutionize the taste experience of alternative proteins with animal free fats and oils. They will be present at the virtual event Future Food-tech London, a summit dedicated to finding solutions in personal health and nutritional safety aiming to connect with world leaders in food and promote the future of health. It will take place from September 30 to October 1, 2021. Thanks to the code EA10 from Eatable Adventures you will get a 10% discount.
Can you give us an overview of what Nourish Ingredients is about and what makes it unique?
Nourish Ingredients is a foodtech startup, combining world-class scientists to make the plant changing impact by unlocking the potential of plant-based food products like plant-based burgers, plant-based steaks, plant-based dairy, etc. And our perfectly tailored animal-free fats and oils foods taste better and feel exactly like the animal kind.
After over a decade working at CSIRO with an extensive experience in lipid engineering and food chemistry, what made you want to join the Nourish Ingredients team?
When I did my PhD in France, I was applying for jobs and I got offered the position with Surinder Singh who’s our science peer advisor. And James Petrie, the co-founder of Nourish, he interviewed me. This was 10 plus years ago, so more than a decade ago. I’ve always been working with James and Ben, the co-founders, and I was the group leader at the time. For the whole 10 years or so I have a lot of trust by working with them previously. I have immense trust in what they and the Nourish team have been working to accomplish, and I was attracted to the team’s passion, because it is actually a personal passion for me and the idea of together, I was leading their project at CSIRO our partner as well as and R&D.
I wanted to take that passion and solve the complex science behind it, with the team that I’ve always worked with and I trusted.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The unique science that we’re trying to solve is the biggest challenge in our startup. But we have a lot of confidence that we are going to be the unique people who are going to solve that science. That’s because of our background, our whole history in the oil space. The people that I’ve mentioned are the ones who took the canola and omega-3 into the market. And that was the biggest challenge at what we’re doing here. It’s a big problem to solve, but the team is capable of doing that and because of our immense experience and background in this space, we believe that we are the unique people in the whole world that can solve that.
The second challenge is being a female in such a male dominated industry. I don’t have to tell you about the lockdown and the experience of looking after two kids and juggling kids usually without lockdown, while being in a startup in the scientific male dominant world.
I take my kids with me to work sometimes and it’s fine. It actually helps us create that female culture within the Nourish team and helps support the females in STEM. And then we do anything or to keep mentoring and attracting female talent to them
Where do you see Nourish Ingredients in 5 years?
We believe that and we are aiming to be the go-to provider of non animal fats for the plant and dairy alternative space.
In the next five years, we are aiming to expand and finetune our fats across different plant-based foods like beef, chicken, or fish and dairy. Or any new future we can think of that requires fat. So that’s where we add, currently we’re mostly R&D focused in small space production. We have covered beef, fish and dairy so far, and chicken is very close.
Check out our other interviews here, and a list of other great events happening in the second half of 2021 here.