Thanks to rescued okara, a by-product of tofu and soy milk production, Swiss-based Luya Food has created a juicy and environmentally friendly protein source.
Could you explain what your startup does in a few sentences?
At Luya Foods, we rescue organic okara - a by-product of tofu and soy milk production of which more than 14 million tonnes go to waste globally every year - and turn it into ready-to-cook slices, cubes and patties. Using traditional fermentation methods and modern technology, we can skip all the additives and highly processed ingredients, and offer a 100% natural, circular product made in Switzerland.
What is something you wish you knew when you started putting together your business?
We knew this, but didn’t do it enough: Just ask people for support and advice. There are a lot of people with valuable insights out there and most of them are happy to share their knowledge with you (if you ask nicely).
What plans do you have for your startup in the next several months?
We are currently ramping up our production so that we can serve more restaurants and we are preparing the launch of Luya in the Swiss retail market. For this we are developing the branding, packaging and product formats and the necessary supply chain. To accelerate our next steps, we are aiming to close a first financing round in Q3 2021.
What is your unique selling point to potential customers out there?
Luya is a real alternative to meat, not just a meat copy. With its juiciness and tender bite Luya is very tasty and offers a new culinary experience. It is easy to cook with and can be creatively used in classic dishes and new creations. Luya is made in Switzerland from rescued organic ingredients, is free from additives or artificial aromas and is great source of healthy fiber and protein.
How did you assemble your startup team?
Tobias, Mike and Christoph worked at Berner Fachhochschule HAFL in the same research group and had a shared interest in the potential of food production by-products. Flavio met them via Swiss Food Research and with his management and sales experience completed the team perfectly. However, the most important factor in forming our team was certainly our common vision to contribute to a sustainable food system and fight the enormous amounts of lost food globally.