|In this series, we will meet entrepreneurs who have developed Chilean enterprises that offer revolutionary products and innovative services. Their business objectives are pioneering and disrupting industries within the South American and international markets. Learn about their inspirational journeys, the challenges they’re learning to overcome, and how their ambition supports underrepresented communities. These companies stand out in their commitment to sustainability, culture, organization, leadership, creative process, and use of strategic assets. Read part I of this series here.
One year ago, The Live Green Co co-founders were walking from store to store with a trolley full of samples. Now, the company offers products in over 200 locations. And Chile’s premium chain of hypermarkets, Jumbo, is launching a technology pilot with a US$6 billion food manufacturer who has operations in 18 countries, and has raised a seed investment of nearly US$1 million.
How did this biotech start-up grow into such a force in the food tech industry within only two years?
It began with a desire to change the way people consume food. Founders Priyanka Srinivas and Sasikanth Chemalamudi set out to make healthy living available for everyone while creating a sustainable future for their consumers, communities, and the planet. They’re achieving this through their recommendation software, Charaka, which combines ancestral sciences of plant nutrition with biotechnology and machine learning to prescribe 100% natural plant-based alternatives for the animal, synthetic, and highly processed ingredients in food products.
“As a consumer, guilt flooded me every time I bought a product that doesn’t adhere to the Live Green concept, for example – water bottled in plastic. As I traveled the world and noticed that it is the same even in developed countries, I began wondering why companies with huge resources aren’t trying to solve this dilemma,” Srinivas said. She added, “why were there no products that were free of animal cruelty as well as good for my health and the planet? Fabulous plant-based brands were cropping up, but were still using highly processed ingredients and synthetic additives. And brands that focused on health weren’t being friendly to the planet.”
Thus, The Live Green Co was born so that when consumers choose products, they are opting for health and sustainability. They can also rest assured that all the key areas – product, packaging and production – are green.
Charaka’s technology is at the core of The Live Green Co. It allows the company to develop many product formulations quickly and at a low research and development cost while offering customization to suit various health conditions. Using Charaka, the company develops and commercializes plant-based food products that are tastier, healthier, and more sustainable. They go beyond imitating animal products and offer new flavors, clean labels, functional ingredients, and sustainable production and packaging.
The Live Green Co has launched two lines of products so far in Chile – burger & pancake mixes. These are high in protein and fiber, free of gluten, soy, cholesterol and trans fats, and do not use any additives. They are also packaged in vegetable plastic and locally made.
The brand is launching a technology pilot with Sigma Alimentos, a large food manufacturing company with revenues of more than US$6 billion and a presence in 18 countries. The pilot is about using Charaka to replace the additives in product formulations with natural alternatives. “We can also scale really well because our tech can be used to make any consumer product (not just foods) cleaner, healthier and more sustainable. That is why our focus is on being a tech company, not on being a food company or an FMCG company,” Srinivas said.
The number of global vegans and vegetarians has increased by 600% since 2014, and one-third of the world’s population is flexitarian. The Live Green Co has found success in the Chilean market and discovered that it behaves similarly to the US market, providing ample opportunities to test products before expanding internationally. In Chile, many people are vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian, but there have not been as many choices in the market as one would find in the US or Europe. In the last two or three years, there has been a massive surge in such products, but mainly focusing on imitating animal products – clean label is still a new concept for the country.
Chile has free trade agreements with over 60 countries and provides substantial support to entrepreneurs. The Live Green Co was selected for the Start-Up Chile program, which offered guidance and expertise when launching and building the brand. The company has won grants and awards from Parallel 18 USA, ProVeg Germany, CleanTech Global, Start-Up Chile, Corfo Consolida y Expande, and Transforma Alimentos.
Srinivas and her team are working to launch all-natural, clean label, plant-based ice-creams, functional snacks, and bases that consumers can use to easily make plant-based milk at home. They are also working toward entering US and Mexican markets.
More information is available here or at the company’s Instagram page @thelivegreenco.