Recently we wrote about Impossible Food’s new ambitious venture to move beyond plant-based meat and create a vegan milk alternative that tastes and looks like the real thing. Another Israeli startup has the same mission but is working to achieve it in a slightly different manner — using a method that replicates the properties of actual dairy proteins without the need to grow livestock.
Called Remilk, the company has just secured $11.3 million in funding which it plans to use to scale up its method of making lab-grown dairy and thus reduce the industry’s heavy environmental footprint.
“We outcompete traditional dairy production in every parameter you can think of — in terms of the amount of water that we need, the amount of feedstock we need, the amount of time and energy that we need,” said CEO and co-founder Aviv Wolff.
As part of its milk-producing process, Remilk uses a technique called microbial fermentation in which milk proteins are reproduced in a tank to create real dairy that’s functionally identical to cow milk but takes the cow out of the equation.
“It can take just two to three days until these microbes multiply enough to fully fill the tank,” Wolff said. “We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of liters. In only a few days you have an enormous amount of microbes, and each one of them is actually a milk factory because it’s able to create those proteins.”
As explained by Wolff, the microbes only require a simple sugar molecule to do their job, but the company is also working on a model that could feed the microorganisms with agricultural waste instead.
Remilk aims to produce a variety of dairy products, from different types of cheese to yogurt to fluid milk itself. Its first product, a mozzarella cheese, is expected to hit supermarket shelves by the end of next year.