'Real dairy, no cows': Remilk scales up animal-free dairy production
The oversubscribed round was led by Hanaco Ventures and includes investments from Precision Capital, Rage Capital, CPT Capital, Intercap, OurCrowd, Aliya Capital, Chartered Group, Indorama Ventures, Tal Ventures, Fresh Fund, Idan and Gil Ofer, Izaki Ventures, and Paradigm Shift Fund.
The company is using its new cash injection to accelerate its manufacturing capabilities and commercialize Remilk's milk proteins at scale targeting major food and beverage manufactures, said co-founder Aviv Wolff.
"We’re here to build the largest dairy company in the world. We’re not interested in building a premium niche product just for vegans. Our dream is to transform the entire industry and provide quality dairy for all consumers, everywhere. We want to reintroduce people to a better, kinder version of the products they already know and love. This funding round will set the wheels in motion towards making this happen," Wolff told FoodNavigator-USA.
Remilk's animal-free milk protein technology also directly addresses a growing population of dairy avoiders who are looking for options beyond plant-based dairy.
"Unlike plant-based alternatives which can fall short in flavor, texture, nutrition, or sustainability, Remilk seamlessly replaces milk-based ingredients because it has the same characteristics, nutrition and flavor profile, ability to melt, stretch and blend as animal milk proteins," said Wolff.
"It’s great news not just for us, but for the dairy industry and consumers who avoid, or would like to avoid, animal derived dairy products. Great news for our planet, too, as our process is significantly more sustainable than that of traditional dairy. And fabulous news for cows worldwide!"
Remilk won't be the first to market with animal-free dairy products. San Francisco-based startup Perfect Day, which produces milk proteins via microbial fermentation, has partnered with several brands including Smitten Ice Cream, Graeters Ice Cream, Villa Dolce, and General Mills' animal-free cream cheese brand Bold Cultr.
'Real dairy, no cows'
Wolff explained that its patented process begins with an understanding of the genetic properties of cow's milk and identifying the gene responsible for the production of the protein that makes traditional cow’s milk.
"Remilk replicates this gene and inserts it into yeast. The yeast we use belongs to the same family as the one that has been used in food manufacturing and home kitchens worldwide for hundreds of years, gaining extreme fame last year as a starter for bread," said Wolff.
"When we insert the specific 'milk-protein-making' gene into the yeast, it acts like a manual and instructs the yeast how to produce the protein in a highly-efficient way."
The company then places the yeast into large fermentors, where it rapidly produces the cow-milk identical protein, but without using a single animal cell, Wolff continued.
"The final step involves the purification and drying of the protein, at which point, it’s ready for manufacturers to use in their products."
Cultivating the future of dairy
Remilk is casting a wide net of market possibilities by meeting multiple product formulation needs of food manufacturers, according to Wolff.
"Our focus is to support CPG companies that make and sell products using traditional animal derived proteins. Our goal is to ensure that companies which make everything from cream cheese and mozzarella to ice cream and yogurt have a partner they can turn to and count on for outstanding products that not only address concerns consumers have – whether that may be physical like lactose intolerance or for sustainability – but will also love," he said.
By working with global leaders in the dairy industry who are extremely sensitive to their audiences’ needs and preferences, we believe we will generate a real revolution in every dairy category out there."
Remilk is currently in conversation with dozens of companies including a number of well-known and popular brands, added Wolff, who said many are working crafting their own Remilk-based recipes.
"We believe that consumers will find products made with Remilk at stores earlier than they expect," said Wolff.
"Much like the Intel-Inside campaign of the late '90s (which established Intel as a household technology name), which meant excellence in that industry, we believe consumers will be grateful to know the dairy products they love, from the brands they trust, have been reimagined with people, animals and planet in mind, thanks to Remilk," he said.