Israel-based startup Remilk just raised $120 million in a Series B funding round led by investment firm Hanaco Ventures, which will go toward its goal of decoupling milk production from the traditional dairy industry. Remilk uses precision fermentation technology to make dairy-identical milk proteins without the need to exploit cows. The process starts with copying a cow’s DNA and inserting it into yeast, which uses it as a guide to produce milk proteins during the fermentation process. Those proteins are harvested and combined with vitamins, non-animal fats, and sugar to create dairy-identical products without the cow. The company has also developed a patented process to scale the production of these proteins on an industrial level.
“It is essential for the future of our planet that we liberate the food chain from dependency on animals. We do so by crafting real dairy that tastes and feels the same, minus the cow,” Aviv Wolff, CEO and co-founder at Remilk, said in a statement. “Our mission is bold, and support from these experienced and trusted investors demonstrates the power of Remilk to meet the moment. This funding propels us on our journey to transform the dairy category into one that delivers delicious, nutritious products without harm to people, planet, or animals.”
Remilk estimates its process uses 1 percent of the land, 4 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, and 5 percent of the water required to produce comparable products in the traditional dairy manufacturing process. The company will use the new funding to drastically increase production of its dairy-identical protein to help manufacturers working in traditional dairy-based products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream develop products that are much less harmful to animals and the environment.
“Remilk is on a mission to transform the alternative protein industry by introducing the next generation of dairy. Not only are Remilk products cleaner and significantly more sustainable when compared to traditional dairy, but they are indistinguishable in taste, feel, and texture,” Pasha Romanovski, founding partner of Hanaco Ventures, said in a statement. “Remilk also employs production methods that are radically more sustainable than traditional production methods today. We have a strong conviction in the founders’ vision and are thrilled to support the talented team on their journey.”
Remilk is already engaged with several large brands with which Wollf says the company is ready to “recreate the future of dairy together.”
Taking the cow out of dairy
While meat, particularly beef, carries an astronomical carbon footprint, dairy is not far behind. According to the 2020 “Milking the Planet” report, the world’s 13 largest dairy farms emit the same amount of greenhouse gasses as the entire nation of the United Kingdom, the sixth largest economy in the world. Luckily, in addition to Remilk, several other startups are tackling the issue of dairy production with a similar approach.
The biggest player in the precision fermentation space is California-based Perfect Day which has raised $750 million to date to disrupt the traditional dairy industry. Perfect Day’s technology uses a similar process to produce animal-free proteins that can be used to make dairy-identical products such as ice cream and cheese.
Perfect Day is approaching the disruption of the dairy industry through multiple avenues, including The Urgent Company (TUC), its consumer packaged goods arm which thus far includes ice cream and cake brand Brave Robot and cheese brand The Modern Kitchen. On the foodservice side, Perfect Day is working with suppliers such as Villa Dolce to get dairy products made with its animal-free protein onto menus at universities, casinos, and resorts.
Perfect Day is also working with existing companies to help them transition their portfolios into the modern era, including ice cream brand Coolhaus (which was acquired by TUC late last year) which is currently in the process of replacing its traditional dairy proteins with Perfect Day’s animal-free version.
To set up a path to further disrupt big dairy, Perfect Day is also providing technology development services for companies looking to follow its proven path of success.
For more about animal-free dairy, read: