US start-up Atomo Molecular Coffee becomes the first company in the world to launch a synthetic coffee product manufactured without organic coffee beans
Atomo has launched the world’s first synthetic coffee product | Photo credit: Atomo Molecular Coffee
US ‘molecular coffee’ maker Atomo has launched a ready-to-drink cold brew product in the US –the world’s first synthetic coffee product to be brought to market.
Optimistically positioning itself as ‘the future of coffee’, Atomo’s marketing is heavily orientated towards pertinent environmental and sustainability issues currently facing the coffee industry.
Atomo says it has examined more than 1,000 compounds found in coffee at a molecular level to ‘reverse engineer’ the coffee bean, a process which avoids any deforestation related to coffee production.
It says its new coffee product produces 93% fewer carbon emissions and uses 94% less water than conventional coffee production.
According to Atomo, the new product is produced using sustainable, upcycled plant waste ingredients. The result, Atomo promotes, is a beverage that has all the body, taste and mouthfeel of traditional coffee.
The launch of the new cold brew product is the culmination of a three-year road to market for Atomo.
In August 2019, the start-up secured $2.6m seed funding from private investment firm, Horizon Ventures. The company received an additional $9m investment in 2020, which was co-led by Beyond Meat backer Horizon Ventures and sustainable food investment firm S2G Ventures.
Although Atomo’s synthetic coffee is the first of its kind to be launched in the market, the brand looks set to face competition from San Francisco-based Compound Foods.
In September 2021, the company raised $4.5m to develop its own synthetic coffee formula, with product launches planned for late 2021.