Founded by honey enthusiasts Darko Mandich and Aaron Schaller, PhD., the company has set out to address the serious issues caused by the $10 billion global honey industry. MeliBio uses precision fermentation and plant science to produce bee-free vegan honey.
Speaking exclusively to Plant Based News, Mandich shared, “MeliBio team is on a mission to introduce sustainability in the honey industry by finally giving bees a break from making honey.”
Using microbial fermentation technology, the company is able to produce honey that has the same molecular makeup, taste, texture and viscosity as conventional honey – all without using any bees in the process.
In a recent industry blind taste test, MeliBio’s honey was found to be indistinguishable from traditional honey, prompting over 30 companies around the world to sign up to be the first users of the product.
The company aims to supply vegan honey as an ingredient to various sectors including food, beverage, pharma and cosmetics.
Why formulate honey alternatives?
The native bee population is rapidly declining around the world, and MeliBio’s founders want to address the impact that honeybees have on biodiversity.
Mandich said, “Reports are showing that the 20,000 wild and native bee species are threatened by commercial bee farming.”
This is largely due to honeybees competing for their food – as honey production increases, the greater the threat to native species. That’s in addition to the challenges the bees are already encountering, such as pesticides, habitat loss and climate change.
‘Make delicious and nutritious honey without interfering with our precious bees’
Recognising the challenges that the bee population are facing, Mandich explained, “We at MeliBio believe that our proprietary approach in connecting nature and science can empower us to make delicious and nutritious honey without interfering with our precious bees.”
The start-up’s bee-free honey invention was previously named TIME’s Best Inventions 2021 and addresses key UN Sustainable Development Goals. MeliBio’s funding up to date has now reached $7.2M.