The mega-millions already spent on startups in the dairy space in companies like Perfect Day, (and our own portfolio company) Nobell Foods, along with others have big companies hunting for the next opportunity they can milk.
The latest stab at udder domination is the Mylkcubator, an incubator launched by the research and development arm of the Spanish dairy company Pascual, Pascual Innoventures, and Eatable Adventures, an advisor and investor in European food technology companies.
“I think we are facing global challenges that can only be resolved thanks to bold bets like this; it’s a starting point for the development of the dairy products of the future,” said Sejal Ravji, director of Pascual Innoventures, in a statement. “It’s a very ambitious project at many levels, including technological, but we’re partnering with leading experts, companies, and investors from all over the world who share our vision to make it happen.”
Startups in the program include:
Real Deal Milk (Spain) develops milk proteins through precision fermentation in order to make dairy products that are produced without animals but are nutritionally and gastronomically equivalent to traditional dairy products.
Zero Cow Factory (India) producing India’s first milk & dairy products (certainly the world’s first in A2 milk protein) using microbial bioengineering & precision fermentation.
De Novo Dairy (South Africa) uses precision fermentation technology to produce animal-free dairy proteins that provide the same sensory experience and nutrition as their traditional dairy counterparts.
M2Factors (USA) 108Labs’ subsidiary M2Factors, Inc is accelerating the state of the art in cell-cultured dairy by crashing the cost of production.
A report by the research group RethinkX predicted that by 2030 almost 90% of U.S. dairy protein demand will come from precision fermentation alternatives.
While the report may be a little aggressive with its timeline, there’s no doubt that a wave of new innovations in the dairy industry is coming to market.
Milk, as the folks at Pascual point out, is around 88% water. Solid proteins like casein (the product that Nobell Foods is focused on) and whey are only about 3.3% of dairy. The rest of what makes milk milk is a combination of sugars, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
“The key to understanding the disruption of the dairy is that cellular agriculture only needs to disrupt 3,3% of the milk bottle, attributed to the key functional proteins,” Pascual wrote in a recent post.
“The entrepreneurial, innovative spirit is in our genes, it comes from the attitude that my grandfather instilled in us of being nonconformist, dreaming big and daring to take risks, not only with our heads but also with our hearts,” said Gabriel Torres Pascual, a scion of Pascual’s founding family and the head of innovation at the company, in a statement. “This is how Pascual Innoventures was born with a long-term vision and the purpose of giving the best for the future of food. We will work hand in hand with startups that allow us to move into the future.”