Eden Brew’s precision fermentation milk to launch in Australia
Aug 03, 2021 — Using precision fermentation for ‘brewing milk’, Eden Brew specializes in growing animal-free dairy products in collaboration with Australia’s oldest dairy cooperative, Norco. The start-up is preparing to present its “cow-free casein” to Australian consumers, with a new rollout in Southeast Asia underway.
Eden Brew’s flagship cow-free milk product is currently undergoing prototype testing at the Food Innovation Center of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Victoria.
Talk to FoodIngredientsFirst, the leaders of the company detail the future directions of the start-up throughout its commercial journey. “We plan to launch our first product in 18 months,” says Dr Geoff Dumsday, team leader for industrial biotechnology at CSIRO.
“We are currently in the development phase of the process and are studying a number of manufacturing agreements; our final production volume will depend on what we decide to go forward with.
Eden Brew was formed by Norco, Australia’s largest dairy cooperative, CSIRO, and the Deep Tech venture capital fund he founded, Main Sequence.
Target Australia and South East Asia
Fermentation has been used for millennia in food processes. Today, it’s used to cultivate solutions of natural ingredients ranging from fermented soybeans to prevent heartburn to thermostable probiotics in tea, in addition to yeast protein rich in amino acids.
“We believe consumers are aware of the nutritional value of fermented foods,” says Dr Dumsday. “Precision fermentation by-products are new to the market but are fully customizable, providing multiple opportunities to establish products in a range of markets and meet the nutritional needs of consumers. “
Precision fermentation uses the metabolism of microorganisms to program microbes to act as “cell factories” for specific compounds of interest.
“Product performance is critical for commercial viability and the development of formulations and products with properties and performance in line with consumer expectations,” says Dr. Dumsday.
“These are potentially new products, it is important to work closely with regulators in various jurisdictions to ensure alignment with their expectations. There is precedent for the regulation of similar precision fermentation products, for example in the United States. “
Eden Brew was formed under the Main Sequence risk science model, which begins by identifying a global challenge and pools the talents of the scientific and industrial communities to solve it.
The company is backed by AU $ 4 million (US $ 3 million) in financing, technology and industry expertise from Main Sequence, Norco and CSIRO.
Casein without the cow
Each glass of cow’s milk contains an ideal blend of protein and nutrients to nourish our bodies, points out Jim Fader, co-founder and CEO of Eden Brew. Dairy products made by precision fermentation have the same building blocks as cow’s milk, he notes. “It’s just done in a different oven.”
Most of the protein in cow’s milk forms in tiny cages called micelles. These calcium-loaded cages designed to provide nutrients to growing babies and give milk its unique characteristics, including its white color.
Eden Brew was the first to create casein micelles without the cow. The result will be animal-free dairy products with a frothy, creamy and milky taste. “There will be all the good things, without the cow. No lactose, no cholesterol and low allergenicity, ”emphasizes the start-up.
“There is a huge potential for expansion into other products, because we can formulate the products as we wish, we can develop other dairy equivalents such as cheese, yogurt, etc. Dumsday.
A similar process of culturing animal-free casein using precision fermentation was piloted by Nobell Foods, which recently secured US $ 75 million in Series B funding. Using a patented technique , the vegan cheese maker produces key dairy proteins, including casein, from high-quality soybeans.
Variety instead of competition
Sustainable food supply is a defining issue of the 21st century. According to the World Resources Institute, there is a 56 percent dietary gap between what we produce today and what we will need by 2050. Fader adds.
In recent years, there has been an emergence of alternative protein companies creating sustainable methods of producing conventional animal protein to feed a growing population.
The alternative protein market in Australia is growing by around 8 percent each year, according to CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall. “By working hand in hand with Australia’s oldest dairy cooperative, Eden Brew can innovate on a large scale to provide additional choice for consumers rather than competing with traditional dairy products,” he notes.
“With a record US $ 3.1 billion invested in alternative proteins in 2020, we see significant market potential for Eden Brew,” said Phil Morle, Main Sequence partner, co-founder of Eden Brew.
“Dairy companies must reinvent themselves”, previously underlined the specialist in dairy ingredients Laïta Nutrition in a FoodIngredientsFirst interview, highlighting an increasingly attractive business opportunity for traditional dairy players. The company recently highlighted its increasingly narrow focus on herbal ingredients.
Spanish dairy specialist Pascual recently launched what is considered the world’s first incubation program for cellular farming technologies in the dairy industry. The Mylkcubator program is supported by the group’s new Corporate Venture unit, Pascual Innoventures, which was created to support start-ups that are disrupting the milk value chain.
In other developments, Time-Traveling Milkman recently extended its plant-based fat ingredient for creamier, healthier dairy alternatives following new funding from Oost NL and SHIFT Invest.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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