This week, Israel-based startup Remilk announced it has raised $11.3 million in capital to fund its goal of disrupting the global dairy industry. Through its patented process, the startup uses microbial fermentation to create a base that is identical to dairy milk but free from animal-derived ingredients. Its commercial partners then create dairy-identical products such as yogurt, cheese, and cream without the need to exploit cows. “Today’s non-dairy alternatives address environmental and health concerns but universally fail to create authentic dairy-based products, like cheese. We’re bridging this gap by making dairy products with dairy proteins, without needing a single cow,” Remilk Co-founder and CEO Aviv Wolff said. “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.” The company will use the newly raised $11.3 million to expand its production and distribution capabilities.
Replacing cows with microbes
While traditional dairy requires more than 1,000 liters of water to produce only one liter of milk, Remilk’s process requires one percent of the land, four percent of the feedstock and 10 percent of the water to produce comparable products. “Relying on animals to make our food is no longer sustainable. 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,” Wolff said. “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.”
Homegrown animal-free dairy
Stateside, California-based startup Perfect Day also creates animal-free dairy proteins using microbial fermentation. Founded by biomedical engineers and vegans Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, the company inserts a cow’s DNA sequence as a blueprint into yeast-based microflora—tiny living organisms used to make everyday items such as vitamins and probiotics. The flora then takes the place of a cow and undergoes an acellular (without animal cells) fermentation process producing an abundance of proteins that can be used as a base for “flora-based” products that are indistinguishable from dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and ice cream. In July, Perfect Day raised $300 million to fund its mission of disrupting the global dairy industry and is now the most-funded alternative protein startup in the emerging fermentation industry.
Photo Credit: Remilk