Meet Dr. Tom Simmons, CEO & Founder of FoodTech Startup: The Supplant Company

Tell us about Supplant


The Supplant Company is a venture-backed food ingredient company that exists to solve three interconnected problems within our global food system: nutrition, sustainability, and food security. We call this the ‘Food System Trilemma’.

Our multi-patented science spans across technology, biology, botany, manufacturing, nutrition and application science. We upcycle the leftover parts of crops, such as corn cobs, oat hulls, wheat straw etc., and transform them into replacements for the world’s most pervasive ingredients such as refined sugar and starch.

Up to two-thirds of what’s grown on farms is wasted or under-utilized. Typically only the ‘product’ of the crop enters our food system such as the grain. We call the leftover agricultural side-streams the ‘Forgotten Half of the Harvest’. By using this fiber-rich resource, our ingredients are more nutritious, more sustainable and more abundant – without needing to plant a single extra crop.

Our hero ingredient, Supplant™ Sugars from Fiber, was launched with seven Michelin-star Chef Thomas Keller in 2021. With complex functional properties including bulking, binding and caramelization, Sugars from Fiber acts like sugar in food but like fiber in your body. As a result, it has 53% less calories than regular sugar, a low glycemic response compared to glucose, and is prebiotic.

The latest innovation on our ingredient platform is Supplant™ Grain & Stalk Flour. This flour blend is made from both parts of the wheat crop: the grain, which is typically used, and the stalk, which is typically wasted. It performs in baked goods, pasta and flour-based products with no compromise on taste or texture. Grain & Stalk Flour, launched in 2023 with Chef Thomas Keller, has 25% fewer calories and 6x more fiber compared to regular flour. By using the stalk in the flour blend, The Supplant Company can dramatically increase the total output of global wheat production by 33% and minimise land use requirements by 25%.

The Supplant Company is making the ingredients that can change our food system forever.

What do you think makes this company unique?

Typically, companies look at the problems faced by our food system and approach them individually. For The Supplant Company, we believe that only way to achieve unambiguously positive progress is to tackle these challenges concurrently as a system-wide solution. We make ingredients that are more nutritious, more sustainable, and more abundant with no compromises.

The concept of using agricultural waste streams to make products is not new (seen in prebiotic, biofuel, and biochemical developments), however, commercial progress has been tempered by technology cost and product-market incompatibility. The Supplant Company’s modern-day alchemy builds on these learnings, aligning technological push with market pull.

Our ingredients will provide farmers with additional income streams from under-utilized crop residues, produce more food per unit of land without concomitant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, and enable the integration of healthier ingredients into mainstream food products.

Why do you think the world needs a company like Supplant?


Many will agree that our current food system needs support and modernising to adapt to a growing population and the threat of climate impact. The pathway to food system transformation requires a radically new perspective, which is exactly what The Supplant Company has. We see the value where others don’t – which is why our ingredients have the capability to make a difference in the world.

Take our hero upcycled ingredient, Supplant™ Sugars from Fiber: it’s made from corn cob fiber and a game-changer for our food system. Sugar reduction is one of the biggest long-term macrotrends in the food and drink industry.

Numerous sugar substitutes (such as aspartame, stevia, sucralose) have been available for beverages and as a result, the sugar-free drinks industry has become a well-established mainstream category. However, in food, sugar replacements are limited to niche categories and B2C markets as no ingredients can replace sugar functionally and economically at scale. With the food sector accounting for ~50% of all sugar end-uses and a clear consumer demand, The Supplant Company’s solutions can offer more sustainable sugar reduction for more food products than ever before.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?


As a food-tech start up, The Supplant Company is continually evolving. Within the last couple of years, we have been able to accelerate our product development which, in turn, is a big leap for the accessibility of our products. Following the Supplant™ Sugars from Fiber launch in 2021 with Chef Thomas Keller, we launched Supplant™ Grain & Stalk flour at his 3 Michelin Star restaurant, Per Se, in New York. Our second ingredient opens both new products and markets for The Supplant Company.

This new flour blend further established the platform in which The Supplant Company continues to develop to make more ingredients that are better-for-you and better-for-planet, all by upcycling the ‘Forgotten Half of the Harvest’.

The Supplant Company has also launched two new products for the foodservice industry using our two ingredients. Made with Supplant™ Sugars from Fiber, we launched a Multi-Purpose Baking Base for professional kitchens to craft baked goods that are lower sugar, lower-calorie, and higher in fiber compared to their regular desserts.

This baking base has versatile end-product capabilities including muffins, loaf cakes, sheet cakes, scones and more – all with powerful claims. This base is being used in artisan cafes, college campuses across America – including the University of California, and by a healthcare division of a multinational foodservice operator.

Most recently, The Supplant Company has launched pasta made with Supplant™ Grain & Stalk Flour with the University of Cambridge. This partnership marks the first establishment in United Kingdom for Supplant, as well as supporting the university’s initiatives to enable healthier and more sustainable choices for their students.


What can we hope to see from Supplant in the future?

The Supplant Company is looking to make a big impact on our food system by working with a number of large multinational companies to meet requirements of ‘Big Food’ and address consumer demand. By helping global food companies meet their health and sustainability targets, we can enable more people to enjoy ‘better’ versions of their favourite foods.

Furthermore, by utilising plant biomass as our raw material source, we can build supply chains that are able to scale in order to meet the needs of these multinational companies yet still deliver superior unit economics and resilience compared to the status quo. Our mission is to bring The Supplant Company’s more sustainable and more nutritious ingredients to mainstream food products around the world.