The evolution and introduction of non-dairy alternatives onto the global market has been rapid and highly disruptive to the category. However, with the application of new technologies, what began with plant-based formulation and ideations has expanded to include products that are identical to dairy, but are made without animals.
One such company headquartered in Israel- Remilk, which is using microbial fermentation to create cow-free dairy products announced it has closed on an $11.3 million funding round led by venture fund fresh.fund, and that saw participation by OurCrowd, CPT Capital, ProVeg, food companies Hochland, Tnuva, and Tempo, along with Bradley Bloom, the co-founder and former managing partner of Berkshire Partners, investor Sake Bosch; tech entrepreneur and investor Amiad Solomon; food tech investor Beni Nofech, among others.
Using a novel patented approach to lab-created dairy manufacturing, Remilk uses microbial fermentation to produce identical dairy proteins in a way that is highly effective and even optimizes functionalities compared to animal-derived products. By doing so, the company says it dramatically increases efficiency in production and advances a cost-effective way to eliminate dairy cows from industrial-scale dairy production, while still maintaining the same taste, nutrition, and functionality of traditional dairy products.
The company’s first-of-its-kind dairy product is indistinguishable from its traditional animal-based counterpart – key to producing the authentic taste and texture found in cheese, yogurt, and ice cream without animals.
The impact potential for this technology is reflected in the numbers. Traditional dairy production uses more than 1,000 liters of water to make just one liter of milk. And animal agriculture is responsible for up to 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions – more than the world’s entire automotive industry, while 91 percent of rainforest destruction is carried out to clear land for cattle.
Meanwhile, more than 35 percent of consumers state that they are striving to include more animal-free options in their diets.
It’s also reflected in the capital being deployed in support of this technology. In July 2020, Perfect Day – another producer of animal-free, lab-created dairy proteins – announced it had raised its latest $160 million tranche of funding led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s (CPP Investments’) Thematic Investing group, expanding its original $140 million Series C announced in December 2019 to $300 million. The company also received GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) approval for consumption by the FDA for its whey protein, and is actively marketing its animal-free ice cream.
With the technology in-hand, what is now on the radar for these companies is the ability to achieve scale of production and distribution – two goals that Remilk plans to meet with its latest funding.
“Relying on animals to make our food is no longer sustainable,” said Aviv Wolff, co-founder and CEO, Remilk. “This model of food production has all but reached its limits in terms of scale, reach and efficiency, and the implications are devastating for our planet. Remilk is revolutionizing the way we produce food around the world, and importantly, is creating a lasting and environmentally-friendly food system that takes no more than what our planet can give.”
Not only are Remilk products cholesterol-free, they contain no lactose, antibiotics, or growth hormones, and require only 1 percent of the land, 4 percent of the feedstock, and 10 percent of the water required by the animal-based dairy industry.
“Today’s non-dairy alternatives address environmental and health concerns, but universally fail to create authentic dairy-based products, like cheese,” said Wolf. “We’re bridging this gap by making dairy products with dairy proteins, without needing a single cow. Our proprietary technology delivers the most authentic animal-free dairy product in the market today and is identical to natural dairy. With our new partnerships for production and distribution, we’ll soon be ready to reinvent this multibillion-dollar industry.”