Unlike other dairy alternatives, Change Foods’ products are made with proteins and fats identical to those found in dairy. By using microbial biotechnology, the startup hopes to develop dairy substitutes — particularly cheeses — that are very similar to conventional dairy in taste and texture. Similar technologies have already been used for many years to develop animal-free rennet, which is already used in most cheeses.
Recently, the startup received funding from angel investor Simon Newstead, founder of the nonprofit vegan food project Bite Society and the ethical accessory company Kinds of Grace. In a LinkedIn post, Newstead said he loves “the ambition of the project”.
Despite using the same proteins and lipids found in dairy, Change Foods’ products will be lactose-free, hypoallergenic, and hormone-free. This will make them suitable for lactose-intolerant people and milk allergy sufferers. Due to their production method, the products will also have a much longer shelf-life than conventional dairy products.
The company was founded in Australia in 2019, and relocated its headquarters to San Francisco in May of this year. It is still carrying out research and development in Australia.
Though many companies have already produced successful cheese alternatives using plant-based ingredients, these don’t always convince the most devoted cheese-lovers. Change Foods hopes its products will convince omnivores to switch to a more sustainable, ethical alternative. It isn’t without competition — Israeli startup Remilk is also working on microbial dairy products. But Change Foods is confident that there is a gap in the market.
“With unprecedented events in the world accelerating the need for changes to our food system, now and on the horizon, Change Foods believes it can lead the way by helping to transform the dairy industry and provide superior products the world knows and loves — with no compromise on taste, function, or texture,” says Sacha Baker, Vice President at Change Foods.