A pizza with animal-free mozzarella

© New Culture

Cheese Alternatives

New Culture Partners with CJ CheilJedang to Streamline Costs of Animal-Free Mozzarella

Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces a partnership with its previous investor, South Korean biotech giant CJ CheilJedang. New Culture develops casein from precision fermentation to make cow-free cheeses that melt, stretch, bubble, brown, and taste like conventional cheese without the lactose, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics found in milk.  The partnership will focus on reducing the production cost of New Culture’s casein to obtain a competitive price for its first product, animal-free mozzarella for pizzerias. Seung June Choi, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at CJ CheilJedang, comments, “Since our initial investment in New Culture in 2022, the CJ CheilJedang team has continued to be impressed by the company’s technical progress, robust bioprocess, and global ambition in the animal-free dairy industry.” Expertise to fuel …

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Finally Foods utilize plants as "bioreactors," modifying them with cutting-edge technology to grow sustainable alternatives to animal-based proteins, starting with casein to make cheese.

© Finally Foods

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Finally Foods Secures Funds for AI-Driven Plant Molecular Tech to Produce Casein for Cheese

Israeli startup Finally Foods Ltd., an AI-driven company focused on revolutionizing the alt-protein sector through plant molecular farming, has secured pre-seed funding from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub (TKH) and the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA).  Finally Foods utilizes potatoes as “bioreactors,” modifying them with cutting-edge technology to grow sustainable alternatives to animal-based proteins. It will start by producing casein, the key protein to make “cheese that’s gentle on our planet and a joy for the taste buds.” The new company leverages AI technology developed by the Israeli computational biology company Evogene. This technology enables the rapid discovery and development of biological markers for genetic engineering and other applications. It also promises short R&D cycles and a swift path to market. Sustainable future According to the announcement, …

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Raffael Wohlgensinger and Hille van der Kaa – Image courtesy of Those Vegan Cowboys

Cheese Alternatives

Formo and Those Vegan Cowboys Reveal “First-of-its-Kind” Collab to Expedite Production of Cow-Free Cheese

Two precision fermentation companies — Germany’s Formo and Those Vegan Cowboys from Belgium — today announce a strategic R&D alliance to accelerate the production of animal-free casein and finally retire cows from cheese production. This “first-of-its-kind” collaboration will bring together over 60 world-leading scientists to create a “powerful and experienced” research team that will improve technological efficiency, including efforts in strain engineering, bioprocessing, and large-scale production of caseins. The companies believe that by joining forces, they can more quickly achieve price parity with milk proteins, thus making cow-free cheese more competitive and accessible to consumers. The companies explain that they plan to combine their manufacturing outputs to achieve economies of scale; nevertheless, each firm will maintain its distinct identity and market its lines of cow-free …

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Slice of pizza with melting New Culture cheese

© New Culture

Fermentation

New Culture Announces “World First” GRAS Status for Precision Fermentation Casein, Paving the Way for Animal-Free Mozzarella

Following a review by an independent panel of qualified scientific and toxicology experts, Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces that it has self-affirmed its precision fermentation-derived casein as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).  New Culture claims this achievement marks the “world’s first” GRAS designation for animal-free casein, which allows it to sell its products containing casein in the USA. New Culture has yet to notify the FDA through the GRAS Notification Program. It is worth noting that this step is not mandatory; however, the FDA strongly encourages manufacturers to contact the agency by submitting a notice. Inja Radman, co-founder and CSO of New Culture, shares: “Having secured another ‘world’s first’ for our animal-free casein is a testament to the hard-working and innovative team we have …

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Pureture X Namyang products

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Fermentation

Pureture Partners with South Korea’s Namyang Dairy to Launch Dairy-Free Range Made with Plant-Based Casein

Pureture,  a US biotech specializing in producing animal-free ingredients with functional properties, announces a partnership with Namyang Dairy Products, one of South Korea‘s largest dairy manufacturers. Namyang, a global company with a presence in 21 countries, produces milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, and butter. The dairy giant will use Pureture’s plant-based casein to develop and introduce a new plant-based dairy range to offer consumers sustainable options. Pureture claims that it has developed the world’s first non-GMO plant-based casein. The protein is yeast-derived, and according to Purture, it enables manufacturers to develop clean-label, dairy-free products without additives, emulsifiers, or binders. Furthermore, Pureture says it will reach a manufacturing capacity of 2,400 tons to meet the growing demand while offering a competitive price approximately 30 to 40 percent lower …

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Standing Ovation eat fromage billboard

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Politics & Law

Standing Ovation Receives €3M from French Government and Bpifrance to Scale Non-Animal Caseins for Novel Dairy Products

French biotech Standing Ovation has secured €3 million in funding from the French government and Bpifrance for its CASPEX project: the production at scale of precision fermentation-derived caseins for novel dairy products. The French government is supporting Standing Ovation with €2 million over 20 months as part of the “Agri-food Resilience and Capacity” call for projects run by the national investment plan France 2030, which funds innovations for healthy, sustainable, and traceable food. 60% of the funding will be a grant to propel the startup’s scaling goals. The French food tech also obtained a €1 million loan from Bpifrance, known as the Invest EU Green Investment Loan, to fuel its precision fermentation platform further. Romain Chayot, CEO and co-founder of Standing Ovation, comments: “Bpifrance’s strong support is helping us to …

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Those Vegan Cowboys announces a €15 million funding round to develop further and scale its precision fermentation platform for animal-free casein-

© Those Vegan Cowboys

Fundraising

Those Vegan Cowboys Open €15 Million Financing Round to Scale Casein for Animal-Free Cheese

Belgian biotech Those Vegan Cowboys has opened a financing round to raise €15 million to further advance and scale its precision fermentation platform (named Margaret) to develop casein for animal-free cheese. After selling The Vegetarian Butcher to Unilever, Jaap Korteweg and Niko Koffeman founded Those Vegan Cowboys in 2020 to make grass-fed dairy products using microbes instead of cows. With the funds, they assembled a talented team of scientists and established a “milk lab” in Ghent, Belgium. Last year, the company successfully developed a batch of caseins and crafted its first proof of concept, a cheese prototype made with dairy-identical caseins. Now, the company states that it is ready for its next phase of growth, which involves a significant scale-up of its operations.  “We gave ourselves 7 …

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Emily Nytko-Lutz

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Opinion

Intellectual Property Law Expert Emily Nytko-Lutz Discusses the Chemistry of Non Dairy Cheesemaking

Emily Nytko-Lutz, Senior Associate at intellectual property law firm Reddie & Grose, handles patent work in the chemical and general mechanical fields. Emily advises a range of domestic and international companies. She is experienced in patent drafting and global patent prosecution, conducting due diligence and European freedom-to-operate assessments and European oppositions and appeals. Emily completed a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Inorganic Chemistry with a focus on the development of frustrated magnetic materials. Can non-dairy cheese melt barriers and conquer our tastebuds? By Emily Nytko-Lutz Consumers are increasingly seeking alternatives to dairy-based cheeses due to environmental, animal welfare, and personal health concerns. Producing a plant-based cheese that melts and stretches similarly to dairy cheese, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Casein, a …

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Three bottles of animal-free milk

© Eden Brew

Fermentation

Australia’s Eden Brew Secures $24.4 Million for Animal-Free Dairy Expansion

Australian precision fermentation company Eden Brew has raised $24.4 million in a Series A round led by previous investor Main Sequence Ventures to introduce animal-free dairy in the alt protein market.  Eden Brew was established in 2021 through a partnership between Norco, a 100% Australian farmer-owned dairy cooperative, and Australian science agency CSIRO and its deep tech venture fund Main Sequence Ventures.  The company uses a precision fermentation process based on science know-how developed at CSIRO. The company claims its platform produces casein proteins that deliver the same nutrition, functionalites, sensory qualities and bioavailability as cow’s milk. In May 2022, Eden Brew also raised $6.9 million from Main Sequence and US investor Digitalis Venture. Other participants in the round include Breakthrough Victoria, Orkla, Digitalis Ventures, Possible …

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Pureture unveils Non-GMO plant-based casein

Image courtesy of Pureture

Company News

Biotech Firm Pureture Unveils Non-GMO Plant-Based Casein for Dairy Alternatives 

US biotech company Pureture, announces the launch of a non-GMO plant-based casein designed for alternative cheese, milk, and yogurt formulations. The biotech claims that its NPD replicates the authentic taste and texture of dairy and its functions. Pureture has developed a technology and manufacturing process that allows it to produce casein at a price lower than the industry average. The company intends to join forces with leading dairy firms to create a brand for its plant-based casein. In addition, it has stated plans to team up with international ingredients suppliers to increase its applications, especially in clean-label products. Rudy Yoo founded Pureture in 2022 (as Armored Fresh Technologies) in New York, with the mission of developing animal-free ingredients that function like animal protein using only 100% plant-based …

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Fooditive successfully scales vegan casein production seeking to conquer the European market

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Ingredients

Fooditive Successfully Expands Vegan Casein Production to Capture European Market

Sustainable plant-based ingredients specialist Fooditive Group announces that after successful manufacturing trials, it can manufacture larger volumes of vegan casein to supply European customers.  Using a proprietary bacterial strain developed through gene synthesis and leveraging precision fermentation, the Dutch company produces casein that is genetically identical to dairy but completely animal-free. Fooditive’s vegan casein suits multiple applications, including dairy products and plant-based meat. Moayad Abushokhedim, CEO and founder of Fooditive, commented: “As our trials reach a successful completion, Fooditive stands on the cusp of scaling up production of our vegan casein to cater to the needs of our European clientele. With this enhanced production process, we are poised to expand our offerings and meet the growing demand for sustainable and affordable dairy alternatives.” Seeking partners to achieve commercialization …

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© Standing Ovation

Fermentation

Animal-Free Casein Producer Standing Ovation Joins Precision Fermentation Trade Organizations

Standing Ovation, a French company that produces animal-free casein using precision fermentation, has joined the Precision Fermentation Alliance (PFA) and Food Fermentation Europe (FFE). The two trade organizations represent the precision fermentation industry in the US, Europe, and Israel, acting as spokespersons to government bodies, industry, and consumers. They work to promote the sustainability benefits of precision fermentation, including advocating for fair regulatory frameworks and educating food industry stakeholders. The other members of the Precision Fermentation Alliance are Change Foods, The Every Co., Helaina, ImaginDairy, Motif Foodworks, New Culture, Onego Bio, Perfect Day, and Remilk. Food Fermentation Europe consists of Better Dairy, Bon Vivant, Formo, ImaginDairy, Onego Bio, and Those Vegan Cowboys. “Important role” Standing Ovation uses microbial fermentation to produce non-animal caseins, which can …

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Pizza Stretch Climax Foods

© Climax Foods

Cheese Alternatives

Climax Foods Announces Major Discovery of Plant-Based Casein Replacement

AI food tech startup Climax Foods announces it has discovered the “first ever” plant-based ingredient that replicates the functional performance of dairy casein. By combining artificial intelligence with a proprietary formulation process, the company says it has created a seed-based protein source that melts and stretches like animal-based casein.  With this discovery, Climax Foods states it is the first company to successfully replicate the functionality, texture, and taste of casein using solely plant-based ingredients. Casein is a critical molecule in the production of cheese and other dairy products – and until now, was thought to only exist in animal-based milk.  According to Climax, its plant-based alternative is free from hormones, antibiotics, or any of the top 8 allergens. In addition, the company’s precision formulation process …

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Fermify secures $5 million for its animal-free caseins to make vegan cheese

Image courtesy of Fermify

Fermentation

Fermify Secures $5M for Mission to Remove Cows From Dairy by 2027

In a female-led seed funding round, Austrian biotech company Fermify has secured $5 million for its revolutionary animal-free production system that allows the removal of cows from cheese production. Founded in November 2021 by Eva Sommer and Christoph Herwig, Fermify has developed a fully automated platform to produce precision fermentation-derived casein proteins to make animal-free cheese at scale. Fermify aims to facilitate the “full disruption of cows” by 2027 by enabling the production of real cheese without the cruelty and environmental destruction caused by the dairy industry. Female-led investors Dörte Hirschberg from Article 9 climate tech fund Climentum Capital led the round. Co-investors include Bettine Schmitz from Auxxo Female Catalyst Fund and Nina Wöss from Fund F. Clima Now, Satgana Ventures, Triple Impact Ventures, and existing investors, …

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Zero Cow Factory founders developing animal-free casein

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Investments & Finance

Zero Cow Factory Secures $4M for India’s First Animal-Free Casein 

Zero Cow Factory, an Indian biotechnology startup producing precision fermentation proteins, has announced a $4 million seed round raised to produce animal-free casein at a commercial scale. The round was co-led by Green Frontier Capital, GVFL, and pi Ventures, with participation from Pascual Innoventures, the investment arm of a leading Spanish dairy group Pascual.  In 2021, Sohil and Parini Kapadia established Zero Cow Factory in Surat to revolutionize the dairy industry with sustainable products. “We are developing a technology to reproduce milk proteins to craft real dairy products that are ethical, safe, delicious, and identical to cow milk but without any animal involved,” said Parini, who is also the company’s CSO.  Disrupting the dairy industry The biotech claims it has developed a patented technology to produce animal-free whey …

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Sergey Solomatin

© Nobell Foods

People

Animal-Free Cheese Producer Nobell Foods Hires Former Impossible VP Sergey Solomatin

Nobell Foods, an animal-free cheese producer based in California, has hired Sergey Solomatin as its Vice President of Food Science and Product Development. Solomatin was previously at Impossible Foods for over a decade, where he created and led the Materials and Texture research group. This group was key in developing and launching Impossible’s Ground Beef products, among others. Solomatin will now bring his expertise in nucleic acid biochemistry, biophysics, polymer chemistry, and pharmaceutical sciences to Nobell Foods. According to the company, his arrival comes during a period of strategic growth. “At Nobell Foods, we harness the power of plants to create animal-free cheese with accessibility and craveability at the forefront,” said CEO and founder Magi Richani. “As we pioneer a new category in food with …

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Pigmentum cofounder

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Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Israel’s Pigmentum: Producing Casein in Plants for Next Gen Milk Alternatives

Israel-based Pigmentum, on a mission to “become the leaders in sustainable production of biomolecules for human well-being,” introduces the next generation of a method for creating plants, which will drastically optimize ways for producing plant-based functional casein for the new wave of animal-free dairy. Further to the well-hyped products of cellular agriculture, new developments in plant cell tech are appearing around the world. Pigmentum produces casein in plants, as opposed to in microorganisms or tissues, reports the startup to vegconomist. Tal Lutzky (CEO) and Amir Tiroler (CTO) met during agronomy studies at Robert H. Smith School of Agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Rehovot campus and together they developed the concept of an inducible mechanism in transgenic plants. With the support of Prof. Alexander …

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an animal-free fresh cheese made with microbial caseins on a wooden board with nuts and rosemary.

© Those Vegan Cowboys

Fermentation

Those Vegan Cowboys Unveils its First Cheese Made with Microbial Caseins

Those Vegan Cowboys, a Belgian food tech developing animal-free dairy, announces the successful development of its first animal-free product. The company claims it crafted a small cheese using dairy-identical caseins obtained via its precision fermentation process. The company explains that caseins are milk proteins not found anywhere else in nature but in mammals that provide cheese with its unique qualities.   It is real, and it is here Will van der Tweel, the food tech’s lab chief, said: “It has some ripening to do. But it is real, and it is here. It is comparable to ordinary cheese. And yet it is completely free from animal products. With this cheese, recreating any kind of cow’s milk cheese is now possible.” Microbial caseins will revolutionise the dairy …

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© Standing Ovation

Cheese Alternatives

Babybel Parent Company Bel Group and Standing Ovation Partner for Animal-Free Cheese

Following its acquisition of an equity stake in Standing Ovation this September, multinational cheese leader Bel Group, famous for iconic brands The Laughing Cow, Babybel, and Boursin, announces an exclusive partnership with the food tech startup to produce animal-free cheese. Based in Paris, Standing Ovation is a precision fermentation specialist that produces animal-free caseins – proteins necessary in cheesemaking – using microbes instead of cows. Microbial caseins are identical to those found in dairy milk, and Bel Group will use them to develop its alternative cheese offerings. Standing Ovation raised €12 million to produce its animal-free casein, in this September’s Series A round where Bel Group was the “undisclosed leading player in the food industry” at the time of our reporting. “Committed to future of …

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new cultures's mozzarella cheese melting in an oven baked pizza on a plate

© New Culture

Investments & Finance

New Culture Secures Investment for its Animal-Free Mozzarella

New Culture has announced an undisclosed investment from Korean food and biotech giant CJ CheilJedang to advance its animal-free mozzarella at scale.    New Culture — which plans to launch its “melty, stretchy mozzarella” at pizzerias in 2023 — explains that the new investment will go towards product development and scale-up. Founded in New Zealand but now based in San Leandro, California, New Culture creates animal-free mozzarella using microbial caseins produced via precision fermentation. The company claims its cheese alternative, made without cows, tastes and functions exactly like traditional dairy. “Invaluable experience and connections” A leading food and biotechnology company and the world’s leading fermentation-based bio-products supplier, CJ CheilJedang is also a 25% market-share holder in the US frozen pizza market. In 2019, the company …

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