BOSTON — Food technology company Motif FoodWorks is introducing Hemami, a yeast-derived heme protein that provides umami flavor and meaty aroma to plant-based meat alternatives such as burgers, sausages, chicken and more.

The ingredient is commercially available for large-scale distribution to customers and has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration to impart flavor and aroma in meat substitutes. Motif FoodWorks also has submitted a petition to use the ingredient as a color additive.

Hemami is similar to heme found in beef, but it is produced through precision fermentation and without animals.

“Plant-based foods have the potential to drive a more sustainable future, but that doesn’t matter unless people actually eat them,” said Jonathan McIntyre, chief executive officer of Motif FoodWorks. “Hemami enables a whole new taste and experience level for meat alternatives that a wider group of plant-based and flexitarian consumers will crave.”

Additionally, Motif FoodWorks shared plans for a new 65,000-square-foot market development center in Northborough, Mass., to support research and development labs and pilot plants for fermentation and production of Hemami and Appetex, a texture technology, as well as other new food technologies and finished plant-based products.

Construction is set to begin this month and is expected to be fully online in the latter half of 2022. The site will house up to 100 employees.

“To execute on our holistic innovation process and rapidly develop and commercialize our proprietary technologies and products, we need to control the facilities and capabilities required to test, validate and scale our food-tech,” McIntyre said. “We look forward to the opportunities and innovation our new facility will bring to Motif and our customers.”

This past June, Motif FoodWorks raised $226 million in a Series B funding round.