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Enifer: Sustainable Protein Solutions with PEKILO® Bioprocess

Written by Karol Kaczmarek
Published June 15th, 2024
12 min read
Updated July 13th, 2024


Enifer, a Finnish biotech start-up, is revolutionizing sustainable protein production with its innovative PEKILO® bioprocess. This technology transforms agrifood byproducts into high-protein mycoprotein, significantly reducing carbon emissions and resource use. Founded in 2020, Enifer is a leader in the circular economy, promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship through strategic partnerships and community engagement.
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Date of establishment

Deep dive

Enifer is known for its innovative PEKILO® bioprocess. This tried-and-tested technology helps biorefineries convert their dilute side streams into a valuable novel source of revenue, contributing to the circular economy. The company's mission is to transform waste into wealth by providing sustainable and economically viable solutions that support biorefineries in maximizing their resource efficiency and minimizing their environmental impact.

Did you know? Enifer's PEKILO® bioprocess has been successfully integrated into multiple biorefineries, significantly reducing waste and creating a new revenue stream. This process not only supports the carbon zero emission sector but also underscores the importance of innovative solutions in achieving sustainability goals.

Company Background


Enifer was founded in 2020 in Espoo, Finland, by a group of scientists from the Technical Research Centre of Finland. The company builds on the legacy of the PEKILO® bioprocess, originally developed in the 1970s by Finnish forest industry engineers to convert forest industry by-products into sustainable feed protein. The original PEKILO® plants operated from 1975 to 1991, producing up to 10,000 tons of mycoprotein annually. Enifer has revived and refined this process to create a food-grade ingredient suitable for modern food industry applications.

Founders and Key Figures

Enifer was co-founded by Simo Ellilä, Joosu Kuivanen, Heikki Keskitalo, Ville Pihlajaniemi, and Anssi Rantasalo. Simo Ellilä serves as the CEO, bringing extensive expertise in biotech and business development. Joosu Kuivanen is the COO, with a strong background in industrial engineering and operations. Heikki Keskitalo, the Business Development Manager, focuses on expanding market opportunities. Ville Pihlajaniemi, the CTO, oversees technological advancements, and Anssi Rantasalo, the CSO, leads scientific research and innovation​.

Funding and Investors

Enifer has successfully secured significant funding to support its operations and expansion. In spring 2023, the company raised €11 million in Series A funding. Additionally, Enifer received more than €12 million from Business Finland's recycling and reuse investment grant, supported by the European Union NextGenerationEU recovery instrument. This funding is designated for the construction of their first commercial-scale PEKILO® mycoprotein ingredient factory in Finland, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2025​.

Products and Services

Core Products/Services

PEKILO® Mycoprotein Ingredients Enifer's primary product is the PEKILO® mycoprotein, a sustainable, high-protein, and high-fiber ingredient produced through fungal fermentation. This ingredient is versatile and can be used in a variety of food applications, including meat and dairy alternatives, baked goods, and breakfast cereals. The PEKILO® mycoprotein contains up to 55% protein and 35% fiber, with a balanced amino acid profile and neutral taste, making it an excellent alternative to traditional protein sources like soy​.

The PEKILO® process contributes significantly to carbon reduction and sustainability. It utilizes agrifood industry byproducts as feedstock, converting what would otherwise be waste into valuable protein. This process has a very low CO2 footprint, does not require new land use, and has negligible water usage. By using renewable energy and optimizing production efficiency, Enifer ensures that the environmental impact of their production is minimized.

Applications PEKILO® mycoprotein is used in various food applications, such as:

  • Meat Imitates: Enhances the protein content and texture in products like patties, veggie balls, and sausages.

  • Dairy Alternatives: Improves the nutritional profile of dairy-free products without affecting taste.

  • Baked Goods: Adds protein and fiber to gluten-free and low-FODMAP baked goods.

  • Breakfast Cereals: Boosts the nutritional value of extruded breakfast products, meeting diverse dietary needs.

Innovation and Technology

PEKILO® Bioprocess

Enifer employs the PEKILO® bioprocess, a pioneering technology that originated in the 1970s and has been extensively refined for modern applications. This process involves the fermentation of agrifood industry byproducts using the fungus Paecilomyces variotii. Unlike typical mycoprotein fermentation processes, PEKILO® utilizes a continuous submerged fermentation method, which is highly efficient and environmentally friendly.

Key Innovations

  • Sustainable Feedstock Utilization: The PEKILO® process can use a wide variety of low-value byproducts, such as residual sugars, glycerol, organic acids, and distillation residues from bioethanol production, as feedstock. This flexibility allows Enifer to transform dilute industrial byproducts into high-value protein, reducing waste and promoting a circular economy.

  • Energy Efficiency: The process is thermophilic, operating at higher temperatures (around 37°C), which reduces the energy required for cooling compared to other mycoprotein production methods. This contributes to a lower overall energy footprint.

  • Continuous Bioprocessing: The continuous nature of the PEKILO® fermentation process ensures a consistent and efficient production cycle. The mycoprotein biomass is continuously harvested, separated mechanically, and then dried into a powder. This approach maximizes production efficiency and minimizes energy consumption.

  • Environmental Benefits: By using renewable energy sources and optimizing the use of byproducts, Enifer's PEKILO® process significantly lowers the CO2 footprint. It does not require additional land for production and has negligible water use, making it a highly sustainable protein production method​.

Technological Impact

The innovative PEKILO® process not only addresses the global protein demand but also aligns with sustainable development goals by reducing industrial waste and lowering carbon emissions. Enifer's advancements in this technology demonstrate a significant leap forward in sustainable food production, contributing to the broader efforts to mitigate climate change and promote a circular economy.

Case Studies

1. Valio Collaboration

Enifer has partnered with Valio, a leading Finnish dairy and food company, to integrate PEKILO® mycoprotein into their product range. This collaboration highlights the versatility and nutritional benefits of PEKILO®, which enhances the protein content and nutritional profile of various food products without affecting taste or texture. Valio uses PEKILO® in dairy alternatives and other food applications, demonstrating the practical and commercial viability of Enifer’s innovative ingredient.

2. Skretting Partnership

Enifer has also formed a partnership with Skretting, the global aquafeed division of Nutreco. Skretting incorporates PEKILO® mycoprotein into its aquafeed products, providing a sustainable and nutritious protein source for farmed fish. This collaboration underscores the scalability and adaptability of the PEKILO® process in different sectors of the food and feed industries​.

3. Purina for Pet Food

Enifer collaborates with Purina, a major player in the pet food industry, to develop high-protein, animal-free pet food products. PEKILO® mycoprotein serves as a sustainable ingredient that meets the dietary needs of pets while aligning with environmental sustainability goals. This partnership showcases the potential of Enifer’s technology to contribute to diverse market segments.

4. Future Prospects

Enifer's upcoming commercial-scale factory, supported by significant funding from Business Finland and the European Union NextGenerationEU programme, aims to produce 3 million kilograms of PEKILO® mycoprotein annually. This factory will further expand Enifer’s ability to serve the global food and feed industries, reinforcing the success and impact of their technology.

Market Position

Industry Overview

The alternative protein industry is rapidly growing as the global demand for sustainable and nutritious food sources increases. This sector encompasses various protein alternatives, including plant-based proteins, cultured meat, and mycoproteins. Enifer operates within this landscape by providing a unique mycoprotein ingredient, PEKILO®, derived from agrifood industry byproducts through a sustainable fermentation process​.


Enifer faces competition from several major players in the alternative protein market, including:

  • Quorn: Known for its mycoprotein products made from Fusarium venenatum, Quorn is a well-established brand offering a wide range of meat alternatives.

  • Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods: These companies dominate the plant-based meat market with their innovative products designed to mimic the taste and texture of real meat.

  • Perfect Day: Focuses on producing animal-free dairy proteins using precision fermentation.

Differentiation: Enifer sets itself apart through its proprietary PEKILO® bioprocess, which is distinguished by its use of diverse agrifood byproducts as feedstock, leading to a highly efficient and low-cost production process. Unlike many competitors, PEKILO® mycoprotein is a dry powder with a neutral taste and color, making it highly versatile for various food applications. Additionally, the environmental benefits of the PEKILO® process, including its low CO2 footprint and minimal water use, provide a strong competitive edge.


  • Regulatory Approvals: Securing regulatory approvals for food-grade PEKILO® mycoprotein in different regions can be time-consuming and complex. Enifer plans to file for regulatory approval in the European Union and beyond, which is critical for market expansion.

  • Market Adoption: Competing against well-established brands in the alternative protein market can be challenging. Educating consumers and manufacturers about the benefits of PEKILO® mycoprotein is essential for gaining market share.

  • Scaling Production: Building and ramping up the commercial-scale production facility requires significant investment and logistical planning. Ensuring consistent product quality and supply chain management is crucial as Enifer scales its operations.


  • Growing Demand for Sustainable Proteins: As consumers become more environmentally conscious, the demand for sustainable protein sources is expected to rise. Enifer's PEKILO® mycoprotein is well-positioned to meet this demand with its low environmental impact and high nutritional value​.

  • Partnerships and Collaborations: Expanding partnerships with major food and feed companies, such as Valio, Skretting, and Purina, can enhance market penetration and product development opportunities​.

  • Innovation in Product Applications: The versatility of PEKILO® mycoprotein opens up opportunities for innovation in various food applications, from meat and dairy alternatives to baked goods and cereals. This allows Enifer to cater to a broad range of consumer preferences and dietary needs​.

Sustainability and Impact

Environmental Impact

  • Reduction in Carbon Emissions: The PEKILO® process operates with a very low CO2 footprint. By utilizing agrifood industry byproducts as feedstock, Enifer transforms waste into valuable protein, thereby reducing the need for new agricultural production and the associated emissions​ (Source:

  • Minimal Land and Water Use: Unlike traditional protein sources, the PEKILO® process does not require new land for cultivation and uses negligible water. This is particularly important in conserving natural resources and reducing the environmental impact of food production​.

  • Circular Economy: By converting low-value byproducts into high-protein ingredients, Enifer promotes a circular economy, reducing waste and optimizing resource use in the agrifood industry.

Certifications and Awards

  • Business Finland Grant: Enifer was awarded more than €12 million by Business Finland through the European Union NextGenerationEU programme. This grant supports the construction of their first commercial-scale PEKILO® mycoprotein factory, aligning with the EU’s circular economy action plan​.

  • Series A Funding: Enifer raised €11 million in Series A funding in spring 2023, backed by major investors such as Nordic Foodtech VC, Voima Ventures, and Tesi. This funding highlights the confidence investors have in Enifer's sustainable technology and business model.

Future Goals

  • Regulatory Approval: The company aims to secure regulatory approval for its food-grade PEKILO® mycoprotein in the European Union and other markets by the first half of 2024. This is a crucial step in expanding their market reach and impact​.

  • Commercial-Scale Production: Enifer plans to complete the construction of its commercial-scale factory by the end of 2025, with production ramp-up expected in 2026. The facility will have a production capacity of 3 million kilograms annually, significantly increasing the availability of sustainable protein.

  • Global Expansion: Enifer aims to build additional facilities outside Finland, scaling its production capacity and reducing costs further. This expansion will help meet the growing global demand for sustainable protein sources​ (Source:

Community and Social Responsibility

Enifer actively engages with local communities and global initiatives to promote sustainability and innovation in the food industry. The company collaborates with local agrifood industries to utilize their byproducts, thereby supporting local economies and reducing waste. Additionally, Enifer participates in global sustainability initiatives, aligning with the European Union’s circular economy action plan and the Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland.

Enifer fosters educational programs and partnerships with academic institutions to advance research and development in sustainable protein production. They collaborate with the Technical Research Centre of Finland and other universities to innovate and refine their PEKILO® bioprocess. These partnerships also help train the next generation of scientists and engineers in sustainable technologies​.

Customer and Public Perception

Enifer has received positive feedback from its partners and customers, highlighting the effectiveness and sustainability of its PEKILO® mycoprotein. Testimonials from companies like Valio, Skretting, and Purina emphasize the high nutritional value and environmental benefits of incorporating PEKILO® into their products​. Enifer has been featured in various media outlets, which recognize its innovative approach and contributions to sustainability:

  • EU-Startups: Highlighted Enifer's €12 million grant from Business Finland and its impact on the circular economy​ (Source: EU-Startups)​.

  • FoodIngredientsFirst: Discussed Enifer's unique fermentation process and its potential to revolutionize the alternative protein market​ (Source:​.

  • Dairy Dimension: Covered the construction of Enifer's commercial-scale factory and its expected contributions to sustainable protein production​ (Source: Dairy Dimension)​.


Enifer, a biotech start-up based in Espoo, Finland, has emerged as a significant player in the carbon zero emission industry. Founded in 2020, the company revitalized the PEKILO® bioprocess, originally developed in the 1970s, to convert agrifood industry byproducts into high-protein, sustainable mycoprotein ingredients. This innovative technology not only addresses global protein demand but also reduces carbon emissions and conserves natural resources through minimal land and water use.

The company's commitment to sustainability is evident in its approach to utilizing low-value byproducts as feedstock, promoting a circular economy, and ensuring that its operations align with broader environmental goals set by the European Union. Enifer’s technology is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, making it a frontrunner in sustainable protein production.

In addition to its technological advancements, Enifer actively engages with local communities and global initiatives, fostering educational programs and partnerships with academic institutions. The company also supports various employee initiatives that promote environmental stewardship, further reinforcing its dedication to sustainability. Positive feedback from partners and customers, along with significant media coverage, has bolstered Enifer’s public image as a leader in innovative, sustainable solutions.

Despite challenges such as regulatory approvals and market competition, Enifer's unique technology and strong environmental credentials position it well for future growth. With substantial funding and strategic partnerships, the company is poised to expand its impact, contributing significantly to the global effort to achieve carbon-zero emissions and promote a sustainable future.

Karol Kaczmarek
Written by:
Karol Kaczmarek
Co-founder of Net Zero Compare
Karol is a seasoned entrepreneur and co-founder of A&K Ventures OÜ. With a strong foundation in quantitative economics, he has a proven track record in strategic consulting, real estate, and global business expansion. Karol is dedicated to leveraging innovative technologies and creative business strategies to drive growth and transformation in every venture.