Climax Foods launches Caseed plant-based casein for melty, stretchy non-dairy cheese

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Climax Foods
Source: Climax Foods

Related tags plant-based cheese Casein Climax Foods

With Climax Foods’ unveiling today of its new plant-based casein Caseed, the biotech startup claims to have cracked the code on recreating the functionality, flavor and performance of dairy cheese – but without the animal and without any of the top eight allergens.

While many companies have made strides in recent years to improve the flavor and performance of plant-based and animal-free cheese, recreating the stretch and meltability of dairy with plants and without allergens has remained elusive.

But the Climax team explained to FoodNavigator-USA that by using artificial intelligence and its proprietary “precision formulation” process, it was able to identify, isolate and “unlock [the] latent capacity” of the base ingredient in its casein replacement from a variety of seeds and legumes to stretch and melt like dairy casein.

The team explained that Climax Foods’ cheeses are “indistinguishable from dairy in taste, texture or performance,” but because its vegan casein is not an exact replica of dairy casein it does not trigger the same allergic reactions as dairy or those recreated using precision fermentation.

“Climax Foods’ casein replacement is called a ‘replacement’ because of the identical functionality it imparts from naturally abundant source of plant protein, including the stretch, taste and texture of animal-based casein. At the molecular level, it shares some similar properties like size and the ability to stretch and to make curds. But it is extracted from available, scalable plants, so it does not share a genetic sequence-similarity to dairy casein,”​ the team explained.

It added that while other vegan caseins on the market come in the form of protein powders, such as one recently launched by Fooditive, and are made from precision fermentation and genetically modified organism technology or even from soy proteins, Climax Foods’ “entirely new procedure and terminology”​ – precision formulation – means its casein replacement is GMO-free, dairy-free, milk-free, soy-free, animal-free and free from other top allergens.

Climax Foods wants to offer solutions that are less expensive than dairy

This proprietary process also allows Climax Foods to create its casein much more quickly and at lower cost than competitors using precision fermentation, according to the company.

“Climax Foods’ products made with precision formulation are able to be produced at price parity with dairy. The costs of precision fermentation-made products are currently much higher than the cost of dairy,”​ the team explained.

But, the team added, the company ultimately wants to be less expensive than dairy, which is why it is working to identify which exact sources of seeds or legumes they want to use for “the most scalable and cost-effective solution.”

Mozzarella on the way

Climax’s new casein is being used to create new cheeses, including mozzarella, which will complement its line-up of existing premium offerings created with the same technology but launched before Caseed was discovered.

The company sampled at Natural Products Expo West its line of “zero-compromise, speciality cheese alternatives,” including Climax Blue. The company also is working on a plant-based brie, feta and chevre-style offering.

Climax Blue entered food service earlier this year and is being used by Michelin and celebrity chefs at several restaurants on both coasts.

The company also has partnered with others in the industry, including Bel Group​, to explore how to create plant-based cheese that performs more closely to animal-based counterparts and to scale products more quickly.

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