20th December 2020
Lab-made milk could replace dairy cows
A new startup company is creating lab-made dairy that it claims is indistinguishable from natural dairy.
An Israeli startup, Remilk, is aiming to produce animal-free dairy products by creating identical dairy proteins through microbial fermentation. The company has developed a unique and patented approach to lab-based dairy manufacturing which dramatically increases production efficiency. This new method could enable, for the first time in history, the cost-efficient replacement of cows for industrial-scale dairy protein production, without compromising on taste, functionality or nutritional value.
This week, the company announced completion of an $11.3 million funding round. With this new capital, Remilk plans to rapidly expand its production and distribution capabilities, and meet global demand for what it describes as "revolutionary" products.
"Today's non-dairy alternatives address environmental and health concerns, but universally fail to create authentic dairy-based products, like cheese. We are bridging this gap by making dairy products with dairy proteins, without needing a single cow," said Aviv Wolff, Co-Founder and CEO of Remilk. "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."
Remilk's first-of-its-kind product is said to be indistinguishable from natural dairy and is essential for developing the authentic taste and texture of dairy derivatives like cheese, yogurt and cream, without cows. It uses a unique, patented process to replicate the properties of the dairy proteins and recreate them in the most effective way, and even optimises functionalities compared to their animal-derived equivalent.
Remilk's team of scientists achieved this by copying genes from a cow which contain the code for making milk. They then inserted these molecular instructions into a microbe, for use in a fermentation process that generates the proteins. The result is a new milk that is both healthier and more ethical by removing the need to use living animals.
The products are cholesterol-free and contain no lactose, antibiotics or growth hormones. Importantly, Remilk is eco-friendly and far more sustainable than traditional dairy systems. The latter require more than 1,000 litres of water to produce only one litre of milk. More than 90% of all Amazon deforestation is done for animal agriculture – not just to raise cattle, but also to grow monocrops like soy to feed cattle. By contrast, Remilk's process requires only 10% of the water, 4% of the feedstock, and just 1% of the land to produce.
"Relying on animals to make our food is no longer sustainable," explained Wolff. "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 revolutionising 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."