Israeli foodtech startup Phytolon, which develops plant-based food coloring, completed a $4.1 million funding round. The investment was led by Millenium Food-Tech, EIT Food, British investor Vincent Tchenguiz’s Consensus Business Group, The Trendlines Group, Israel Innovation Authority, and former President and CEO of Elbit Systems, Yossi Ackerman.

Phytolon CEO Dr. Halim Jubran remarked, “This round will enable us to reach  he market with our healthy and sustainable food colors that offer a high quality and cost-efficient solution to the food industry. The new round will also promote our collaborations with our potential clients, with whom we have been in communications during the past year and a half.”

Plant-based food coloring

The food color market splits in to two categories: synthetic colors that are a by-product of oil refinement, and natural colors, which currently control 70% of a surprising $2.85 billion (based on 2019 reports) market. Keep in mind that the natural food color trend is only growing, with increasing consumer demand to remove unhealthy artificial supplements from food, in addition to strict regulatory pressure for reducing synthetic materials in food.

Phytolon developed technology that enables the production of high-quality natural food colors at cost, while providing a broad spectrum of coloring options, from yellow and orange to pink and purple. Creating the vibrant colors involves a yeast fermentation process that utilizes special pigments found on plants, which the company claims are highly nutritional.

Phytolon focuses on production of food coloring for a multitude of industries including: fermented milk, milk-based drinks, soy products, ice-cream, baked goods, and plant-based alternative meats. In the future, the company aims to enter the cosmetics and textile markets as well.

Trendlines Incubators Israel CEO Barak Singer added: “Phytolon was established following a collaboration between The Trendlines Group and the Weizmann Institute of Science. We are extremely pleased that the company, managed by Dr. Halim Jubran, secured this over-subscribed round in the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to the commercialization of its technology to provide healthier, more ecological and cost-effective coloring to the food technology market.”

Founding team: Dr. Halim Jubran, CEO and Dr. Tal Zeltzer, CTO credit: Phytolon 

Phytolon was founded in 2018 by CEO Dr. Halim Jubran, CTO Dr. Tal Zeltzer, and Scientific consultant Dr. Guy Polturak in partnership with The Trendlines Group and The Weizmann Institute. The company currently employs a team of 9 at its R&D center in the northern Israeli tech hub of Yokneam Ilit, and has raised $5.3 million to-date.

Chanan Schneider, CEO of Millennium Food-Tech added, “For us, technologies that make food more natural and healthier are innovations that change the world of food and beverages. It is clear to us that consumers are looking for products with more natural and healthier ingredients and are even willing to pay a premium for them. Phytolon brings a patented solution, perfect for the food color sector, and has garnered a lot of interest in its technology and products.”