The funding was led by early-stage Israeli venture fund fresh.fund, with participation from OurCrowd, CPT Capital and ProVeg.
Food manufacturers Hochland, Tnuva and Tempo also contributed, as did individual investors Bradley Bloom, Sake Bosch, Amiad Solomon, and Beni Nofech.
For Israeli start-up Remilk, the investment means it can ‘rapidly’ expand its production and distribution capabilities for its animal-free dairy products.
“The funding will enable us to scale our production process, which will result in lower, competitive prices for all Remilk products,” co-founder and CEO Aviv Wolff told FoodNavigator.
Milk without the cow
Unlike most dairy alternative brands, Remilk does not rely on plants to make its animal-free products. Rather, the start-up produces identical dairy proteins through microbial fermentation.
Being ‘indistinguishable’ from natural dairy means that dairy derivatives – such as cheese, yoghurt and cream – can be created with the same
‘authentic taste and texture’ as the real thing.
Without giving too much away, Remilk said the unique, patented process replicates the properties of dairy proteins, in a method the company claims ‘optimises functionalities’ compared to their animal-derived equivalent.
In an interview with FoodNavigator earlier this year, Wolff explained that the animal-free milk takes ‘just a few days’ to produce. Because it behaves the same way as cow’s milk, it can be transformed into most dairy products.
“In the seven months that passed since we last spoke, Remilk has reached significant technological breakthroughs that are already enabling us to increase productivity dramatically,” the CEO revealed. “The recent funding round will enable us to increase it even further.”
‘Revolutionising how we produce food'
At the foundation of Remilk’s mission is a desire to reinvent the dairy supply chain. “Relying on animals to make our food is no longer sustainable,” noted Wolff. “The 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.
“Remilk is revolutionising 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.”
The company claims its production is ‘far more’ sustainable and eco-friendly than traditional dairy systems, requiring just 1% of the land, 4% of the feedstock, and 10% of the water need to produce its conventional counterpart.
Wolff also claims his animal-free offering is healthier than the real thing. Remilk’s products contain no lactose, cholesterol, growth hormones or antibiotics.
When will Remilk hit the market?
One notable challenge facing innovators in the microbial fermentation space is regulatory approval.
However, Wolff told FoodNavigator the application process is underway, and importantly, that his glass is half-full. “Remilk is currently in the application process for regulatory approvals both in the US and the EU.
“We are extremely optimistic about our changes and estimate that the first approval will be granted sooner than most people expect!”
Concerning food manufacturers’ investments in Remilk, FoodNavigator asked Wolff if funding agreements covered use of the novel food in their products. “The food manufacturers that joined us as investors did so out of the recognition that the global food industry is undergoing a major transformation and an understanding that Remilk’s ground-breaking technology positions it as a leader in the animal-free dairy industry,” he responded.
Of its investment, cheesemaker Hochland said: “In fermented proteins we see an interesting opportunity to develop innovative and sustainable products. Remilk is the ideal partner for Hochland to jointly develop this new raw material base.”