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    Analogs came to the oil plant // Efko will produce biologically synthesized oils

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    One of the major producers of vegetable oils, Efko Group, will produce biologically synthesized analogues of this product. The company invested 100 million rubles. into the technology of obtaining fats from yeast, on the basis of which he wants to make an analogue of cocoa butter, as well as alternatives for olive, soy and rapeseed. Confectioners are still skeptical about the new product, although experts see the potential for such products on the world market.

    The group itself told Kommersant that Efko will be engaged in the production of biologically synthesized vegetable oils. The technology provides for the modification of nutritional yeast to produce fats similar to vegetable oils. At the first stage, Efko plans to produce an analogue of the most expensive of vegetable oils – cocoa butter, which is imported from Africa. In the future, it is planned to start production of analogues of olive, soybean and rapeseed oils. Efko invested 100 million rubles in infrastructure, research and obtaining pilot samples.

    Efko is one of the largest Russian producers of oil and fat products. It produces sauces, vegetable oils under the brands Sloboda, Altero, etc. As follows from the annual report of the Rusagro group, in 2021 Efko occupied 48% of the Russian market for industrial fats and 11% of the packaged vegetable oil market. Last year, the group’s revenue grew by 56%, to 223 billion rubles, which corresponds to the second place in the Infoline Food & Drink rating.

    Efko Executive Director Sergey Ivanov notes that the development of fats from microorganisms – the most promising line of business for the group. “For such an oil, fields, elevators and oil extraction plants are not needed, and the whole technology fits in an enzyme plant,” he says. Efko intends to produce products either at parity at the price of a traditional analogue, or cheaper.

    Thus, the group already produces enriched meal used as a feed ingredient for farm animals, he points out. Competitors of Efko in the oil and fat market interviewed by Kommersant – the Rusagro group, the Blago group and the Margaron company – did not provide comments. The potential of the new Efko product will depend on what standard the cocoa butter analogue will meet, what the taste and price will be. According to him, while according to Russian standards, it is possible to produce an equivalent and a substitute for cocoa butter. The first is an expensive product, which is a mixture of fractions of different vegetable fats, most similar in properties to cocoa butter, explains Mr. Muravyov. And the substitute, he continues, does not resemble the original in properties and taste, it is a cheap ingredient that is used in the production of glazes and confectionery tiles.

    One of the founders of the Alternative Food Manufacturers Association, CEO and co-owner of Greenwise Artem Ponomarev believes that Efko will be able to produce an analogue, retaining the organoleptic properties of the original. “The question is scalability and, as a result, price, because any alternative of this kind should be cheaper than the usual product,” he points out.

    According to him, the group claims to be a global player in the field of foodtech , which is probably why it moved the headquarters of the specialized corporate venture fund Fuel For Growth to the UAE. And in the world in recent years, the creation of alternative fats using modified bacteria is one of the foodtech trends, the expert points out. In particular, Mr. Sizov notes, the Efko products obtained in this way can be used in the food industry as a replacement for palm oil, which is skeptical not only in Russia. Although the interlocutor of Kommersant in the oil and fat market doubts that the costly technology of biological synthesis of fats and the economy of traditional palm oil production will be able to compete.

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