Many of the foods we eat today depend on manufacturers choosing from thousands of laboratory-made additives to add the flavor, nutrition, and functionality we love. These synthetic additives are often ultra-processed and/or derived from animals. But did you know that there are more than 450,000 plants and 10 million plant compounds that can do the same things – and even more are waiting to be discovered?

This year’s TFF Challenge Finalist team from Chile is The Live Green Co., and they are here to bring plant-only ingredients, additive replacements, and nutritional compounds to the forefront of our food system! Their AI-powered recommendation engine, Charaka, unleashes the bounties of nature by blending ancestral wisdom of plant nutrition with biotech and machine learning to prescribe 100%-natural plant alternatives. They are on a mission to replace the synthetic, ultra-processed, and animal-based additives in our food, offering benefits for sustainability, health, and indigenous wisdom.

From India to Chile – and now, the world 🌏

Priyanka and Sasikanth are the next-gen entrepreneurs behind The Live Green Co.. The idea for their startup came when they began playing detective while reading baby food labels after a baby girl was adopted into their family. They wanted to ensure a healthy start to her life and avoid anything animal, synthetic, and ultra-processed.

In 2018, Priyanka packed her bags and left her life in India to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams in Chile, right after being awarded a Chilean grant to boost the mission and vision of The Live Green Co. Since then, she and her team have won multiple startup competitions, participated in various acceleration programs, and have gained many recognitions worldwide. As of today, they have raised $1.4 m in investment & grants, and have expanded from their husband and wife co-founding team to have 14 highly qualified, international, and diverse team members. Now, fueled by their big vision, they are ready to conquer the world.

Revving up their plant-based engine

It is estimated that only about 1% of the world’s available plant-based compounds have been officially documented. The Live Green Co. blends this scientific understanding with traditional knowledge from Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese Herbology, and Japanese & Korean medicinal plants. Furthermore, they have their own R&D team dedicated to conducting research to discover new plants and natural compounds that make our food healthier, tastier, and more sustainable.

The name of The Live Green Co.’s recommendation engine, Charaka, pays tribute to the Charaka Saṃhitā, a text written 2500 years ago to document hundreds of plant properties in Ayurvedic Indian medicine. The Charaka recommendation engine currently comprises 15,000 plants and properties (approx. 500,000 data points) that provide plant-based alternatives to more than 5,000 regulatory-approved food additives. They cross-reference 35 parameters of functionality, sensory, physico-chemical, nutritional, phytonutrients, bio-active compounds, taxonomy, and molecular using modern science and applied machine learning. Going forward, The Live Green Co. expects to unlock the unspoken and undiscovered 450 thousand plants and 10 million compounds found in nature by taking a data-driven and scientific approach.

“We have so much abundance in nature that we can use to find better ways of making food. It is time to move away from our dependence on animal protein and 4-5 main crops and rethink the possibilities that indigenous plants and wisdoms bring. Our mission is to incorporate diversity back into our diets and transform our food systems,” Priyanka says.

A product line blending ancestral knowledge with biotechnology

To demonstrate all that is possible with their Charaka engine, The Live Green Co. went ahead and launched four of its own clean label products into the retail market, including; plant-based burger mixes, pancake mixes, ice cream, nutritional capsules, and frozen burgers. These product lines have been available since July 2020 in stores across Chile. The Burger & Pancake mixes are also available in supermarkets in Peru as well as in the USA via Amazon web sales. There is no doubt that the adoption of cleaner and greener foods has accelerated due to the pandemic, bolstering The Live Green Co.’s market opportunity. According to the report from Meticulous Research®, It is estimated that the plant-based food market is expected to grow to reach $74.2 billion by 2027.

Food manufacturers, are you listening?

The success of their product lines has shown the industry that their approach is the real deal. But, as a business, The Live Green Co. intends to focus on the B2B opportunities. They envision a future where food manufacturers won’t need an army of biochemists or expensive R&D labs. They will be able to innovate quickly and efficiently in response to market trends and competition by licensing Charaka’s formulations, ingredients and products. Moreover, food manufacturers will save time and money by working with The Live Green Co. while conventional food research takes an average time-spend of 2yrs, the Charaka engine has proved to only need 90-days to complete the research and development process.

Working with TFF to deliver maximum impact throughout the food system

A study in the USA found that 58% of the calories people eat each day came from ultra-processed non-nutritional foods. By offering a high functional value and nutritional content, The Live Green Co.’s solution will help to prevent lifestyle and diet-related diseases coming from ultra-processed food.

“We are proving the scientific benefits of plants! We validate traditional wisdom with modern science and identify the scientific reason behind the replacement of ingredients that perform similarly in record time”, Priyanka says.

What’s next?

The Live Green Co. is currently taking part in the TFF Academy, a three-month, personalized acceleration program that takes next-gen, agri-food-tech startups to the next level through hands-on mentorship and support in areas like pitching, storytelling, and industry introductions. In addition, TFF will be working with this Chilean startup to increase visibility in regards to ancestral and traditional knowledge integration in the whole food system – for example, by bringing value back to the indigenous communities from who we are sourcing this knowledge.

TFF is supporting The Live Green Co. with corporate introductions and raising funds in the USA market after having validated their business model in Chile and other Latin American countries. If you want to find out more about The Live Green Co., partner with them, or meet the team, please reach out to marie@thoughtforfood.org.

Hear them pitch at the TFF Summit!

LIVE on October 2nd