Cracking Open a Sustainable Future for Protein
The EVERY Company is a market leader in engineering, manufacturing, and formulating animal-free proteins as ingredients for the global food and beverage industry
The world has an animal-protein problem. Increases in living standards mean more consumption. In 2020, [we] ate 574 million metric tons’ worth of meat, fish, dairy, and eggs—almost 75 kilograms per person. Worse, that number is increasing each year, causing serious issues for the planet. Altogether, the growth, processing and distribution of animal protein requires huge amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water. It also releases greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water. Finally, there are significant ethical issues associated with factory farming animals.
How do we change this picture? The past decade has seen the rise of plant-based proteins as an attempt to make a difference. These do a reasonable job of mimicking the texture and taste of animal proteins, but there is a lot more work to do.
Thankfully, in the biotech industry, huge advances are happening every year. This includes synthesizing new ways of engineering and experimenting with proteins. The ultimate goal is to move from plant proteins that provide a ‘not-quite-the-same’ alternative to bio-identical proteins. These will be cruelty-free, and can drop seamlessly into products bought every day at the supermarket. The EVERY Company, led by Arturo Elizondo, is blazing a trail to bring these animal-free proteins to everyone, everywhere.
A LIFELONG PASSION
Arturo Elizondo is driven to do good in this world. Growing up in Laredo, Texas right on the border of Mexico, Arturo was exposed to a quintessential Mexican-American life, where Texas beef and Mexican breakfasts packed with protein reigned supreme. His father, who still worked in Mexico, made the intentional choice to settle in Texas for the future opportunities it would give his family. “A big part of my upbringing was acknowledging how much privilege I had to be born in the United States,” Arturo said.
Having realized this at an early age, Arturo wanted to use the opportunities he’d been given to improve the lives of others. While in high school, Arturo saw a graphic video detailing the horrors of a factory farm. He was instantly inspired. At 16, he began learning about politics and started calling local officials to drive change. His efforts led to an internship with the USDA the summer before he went to college. While there, Arturo toured factory farms and saw how the drive for low-cost meat led to large-scale suffering of animals.
The seeds of a solution were planted during his time at Harvard University. There, on another internship at the UN in Geneva, Arturo visited companies working on cell-based technologies to create animal-free foods. This showed the power and potential for food tech and innovation from the private sector.
Unsure of what avenue he wanted to pursue post-college, Arturo called up a mentor for guidance. This mentor encouraged Arturo to follow his passion to make a difference through food tech rather than by working for the government. Taken aback, but inspired, Arturo booked a one-way ticket to San Francisco with no job and no place to stay. It was the best decision he ever made.
“A big part of my upbringing was acknowledging how much privilege I had to be born in the United States,”
FINDING A PLATFORM
In San Francisco, Arturo began to network to see how he could best make an impact. His connections got him an invite to a foodtech conference. Arturo accepted, eager to see the latest advancements in the industry.
At the conference, Arturo sat down at a table with Dave Anchel, a biologist visiting from Canada. The two got to talking, and the biologist told Arturo about his research using fermentation technology to create animal-free, cruelty-free proteins. The process didn’t need deep tech to function, so it had potential to scale and make an impact in the market. The biologist was looking for someone to run the business side of a potential company. Arturo was hooked and the two founded Clara Foods, now The EVERY Company, in 2014.
THE FUTURE OF FOOD
The fermentation technology underlying EVERY’s business isn’t new. However, until very recently it has been too expensive for large-scale production use. EVERY has focused its time and resources on democratizing access to protein and ultimately improving accessibility. The company uses bioengineering to optimize yeasts to be efficient enough to produce high-value animal-free ingredients at scale, ultimately at a low cost. EVERY initially proved its technology platform with the production of pepsin - an enzyme that traditionally requires the slaughter of pigs to be produced. With that achieved, the company has focused on larger-scale production of animal-free proteins.
EVERY’s initial focus is to develop egg protein from its fermentation process. The end product is exactly the same as animal-derived egg protein - but without the factory farms. The company envisions a world without factory farms for eggs and the environmental issues they create. The goal is to enable the shutting down of every factory farm by 2040.
Unlike the plant-based proteins you might see at grocery stores, EVERY is not selling its products to consumers. Instead, the company is working with customers to replace their egg ingredients or other sources of protein with bio-identical ones produced by EVERY. This enables consumers to eat products that taste exactly like those they know and love. The difference is those products have a reduced carbon footprint, are animal-free, and salmonella free. Grocery aisles won't be the same again.
In addition to taste, the EVERY team realizes that the number-one challenge for food producers is cost. The company’s goal is to produce at a cost that enables its proteins to be in products that are accessible and affordable in every corner of the world.
EVERY isn’t stopping with egg protein. The company rebranded from Clara (Spanish for egg whites) to EVERY because Arturo believes that the company can be a part of every single, accessible alternative-meat product. The use of fermentation to create egg protein is replicable for other animal proteins. In its labs, the company has already shown it can make dozens of different variations. EVERY eventually expects to expand its operation past eggs, to support and accelerate the growth of the alternative protein sector. The majority of large meat producers already have alternative protein teams. EVERY’s goal is to become THE partner that helps them deliver new products to market.
What EVERY has accomplished over the last eight years is only the start of the process to radically change the way everyone eats. If EVERY and the alternate protein industry are successful, they will have reshaped humanity forever.