Remilk is taking a step closer to large-scale production of precision fermentation-derived dairy proteins with the building of a new site in Europe.
Spanning 750,000 square-feet, and located on newly acquired land in Kalundborg, Denmark, the facility will be the largest of its kind in the world, Remilk CEO Aviv Wolff told FoodNavigator.
Working in Symbiosis
Sitting within Kalundborg’s ‘sustainable industrial ecosystem’ Symbiosis project – which houses public and private companies with an economic and environmental vision – Remilk’s site will rub shoulders with big-name neighbours Novozymes, Novo Nordisk and Chr Hansen.
For Remilk, the decision to set-up shop in Denmark is a strategic one. After an ‘extensive’ search, the Israeli start-up was attracted to the location’s ‘strategic advantage’ and ‘powerful approach’ to industrial sustainability.
“Remilk has already started high-volume production in several locations around the world. The Danish facility will be our first fully-owned facility and the largest of its kind in the world,” explained Wolff.
The company was also taken by the support from the city and the Danish government.
“Remilk brings important knowledge to Denmark in terms of research and development with food ingredients and dairy products,” Anne Hougaard Jensen, director of Invest in Denmark at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in response to the announcement.
“I am convinced that the opening of Remilk’s production facility in Denmark will be an important step towards an even more sustainable future for the food and dairy industry.”
Which proteins is Remilk making?
According to Remilk, this ‘major’ milestone demonstrates its ‘continued leadership’ in the animal-free dairy category.
“Remilk is committed to reinventing our dairy industry in a kind, sustainable way. Eliminating the need for animals in our food system is the only way to supply our world’s growing demand without destroying it in the process,” said Wolff.
The start-up is leveraging precision fermentation technology, whereby microorganisms are programmed to produce proteins, to ‘reinvent’ the category.
Specifically, the yeast-based fermentation process is producing non-animal milk proteins for use in dairy products. According to Remilk, the result is the production of products that are ‘indistinguishable' in taste and function from traditional dairy.
But which milk proteins is Remilk planning to produce at scale? Casein or whey? The answer is both, Wolff told this publication.
That means the company is looking to produce beta lactoglobulin, which is the major whey protein of cow and sheep’s milk, as well as casein proteins alpha 1, alpha 2, beta, and kappa.
Alpha lactalbumin – the main serum protein of human milk, which is also present in cow’s milk – is also on Remilk’s radar.
How exactly these proteins will be used, and how many at a time, in specific finished products was not disclosed.
“The way we see it, rethinking dairy means reinventing the way dairy is crafted – building end products from the bottom up,” said Wolff.
“Although we can’t disclose the detailed behind-the-scenes specs of the way we use our proteins to craft finished products, we will say there are new ways to utilise proteins, with indistinguishable end-results.”
Remilk is focusing on the B2B market, looking to partner with companies producing finished products in the dairy market.
“Remilk offers tremendous flexibility for manufacturers of dairy products. Companies that currently use traditional dairy can replace their dairy proteins with Remilk’s protein, in consumer favourites like yogurt, ice cream and a variety of cheeses in various textures,” said the CEO.
While no such business is currently located at Symbiosis, Wolff suggested Remilk’s engagement with other parties at the site will focus on the ‘efficient’ and ‘sustainable production process’ of the protein itself.
Concerning regulatory approval for commercialisation, the company said it is taking a global approach. Having its own production facility in Europe does not mean it is automatically targeting Europe for initial market entry, we were told.
“We believe there will be interest from global markets, but we are particularly focused on the US market with regard to CPG partnerships and consumer product availability at this time.”