- Change Foods raises $15.3 million to develop animal-free dairy proteins.
US-Australian company Change Foods has raised $12 million in its seed extension funding round, bringing its total seed investment to $15.3 million. This sum is the largest ever seed raise for a precision fermentation company.
The round was led by Route 66 Ventures, with participation from Upfield, Blue Horizon, Sigma, British soccer player Chris Smalling, and more. Additionally, Change Foods has signed strategic collaboration agreements with both Upfield and Sigma.
Transforming the cheese business
Upfield is the world’s largest plant-based foods producer, with a focus on dairy alternatives, while Sigma is a global food company with over $6.7 billion in annual revenues. These collaborations will allow for more rapid product development and scaling up, as well as increased distribution capabilities.
“Our mission is to transform the global cheese business with new products that deliver the indulgent taste and eating experience of traditional animal-derived products, but without the detrimental impacts of industrialized animal agriculture,” said David Bucca, Founder and CEO of Change Foods. “Our flagship funding round and collaboration agreements demonstrate confidence in our ability to usher in revolutionary animal-free cheese products. Industry partnerships are a critical part of our business model as we look to leverage the scale and expertise of leading industry players to rapidly expand production and go-to-market.”
Chasing the “holy grail”
Change Foods is working on what it calls the “holy grail” of vegan food — real cheese without the cow. The company has set out to achieve this by using precision fermentation technology to produce the dairy protein casein.
Similar technology has been used since the 1990s to produce animal-free rennet for vegetarian cheeses. This may be why Change’s initial oversubscribed seed round was backed by investors from the dairy industry, who recognised the innovation as important for the future of the sector. The company is planning an initial market launch for late next year.
“Our technology allows for endless potential within the dairy foods space,” Change told vegconomist in an interview. “We are evaluating products like animal-free milk, yogurt, and ice cream for our expansion opportunities.”