Dairy alternatives: General Mills shuts down Bold Cultr, Daiya to invest in fermentation
Bold Cultr, the animal-free cream cheese brand developed by General Mills’ corporate venture studio G-Works, has been shut down after the CPG decided to ‘de-prioritize funding’ for the project. The news was announced on February 27, just over two weeks after the three cream cheese flavors were made available for pre-ordering via Bold Cultr’s e-commerce website.
The cream cheese, which was lactose-free and made with proteins created through precision fermentation, was first launched in November 2021. It was touted as ‘one of the world’s first next generation cheese alternatives’, with General Mills’ Doug Martin stating at the time that the product was ‘proof that we’re finding new ways to test and learn outside of our core portfolio and in a whitespace of the food industry’.
In January, General Mills told reporters it planned to expand the availability of Bold Cultr products both in food retail and via the brand’s e-commerce platform, but the startup’s abrupt closure leaves more questions than answers over the future of animal-free dairy as part of the food major’s portfolio.
“Dear fans and customers, with a heavy heart, we want to let you know that we are closing our doors as of February 27, 2023,” said a statement on Bold Cultr’s website.
“Bold Cultr was a unique startup brand by G-Works, General Mills' corporate venture studio, which deploys small teams to solve food-related consumer problems through innovation - testing and learning along the way. G-Works regularly reviews its innovation portfolio and evaluates investment decisions. Recently, the difficult decision was made to de-prioritize funding for Bold Cultr.
“We appreciate your support and thank you for being a part of our journey.”
DairyRepoter contacted General Mills for comment but has received no response so far.
Canadian plant-based cheese maker Daiya has announced plans to invest in fermentation technology that will enable the company to create plant-based cheese ‘with similar characteristics’ to dairy, including a meltier and stretchier texture.
Daiya is investing in a ‘natural fermentation’ site that will sit within the firm’s production facility in Burnaby, British Columbia. Jamie Siu, R&D Director, Advanced Research and Technology at Daiya said: “We've worked with experts to develop a facility and formulation that is world-class. For our team to be able to deliver this fermented product has been no small task. It has involved extensive research and development in the traditional art of cheesemaking, applied in a plant-based setting.”
Plant Veda Foods has completed the acquisition of non-dairy ice cream maker, Nora’s Non-Dairy. Nora’s cashew-based ice creams are sold in around 250 stores across Canada, including Safeway, Whole Foods Market, Thrifty Foods and online at Spud.ca. The acquisition means Plant Veda, which manufactures cashew milk, creamers, lassis and yogurts, will be able to also offer ice cream as part of its product portfolio.