Israeli startup Remilk, which specializes in food technology and the development of cultured milk and dairy products, announced on Tuesday that it plans to open the world’s largest facility for cow-free milk production in Denmark.
The 69,677 square meter facility will be built within an eco-industrial park in the city of Kalundborg, the company said.
Founded in 2019, Remilk produces milk proteins by a fermentation process that are “chemically identical” to those found in milk and dairy products produced by cows.
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“The end result is 100% similar to ‘real’ milk,” but free of lactose, cholesterol, growth hormones and antibiotics, said Aviv Wolff of Israel times.
Wolff and his scientific partner Ori Cohavi mapped the chemical composition of milk, assessed the fat, lactose and sugar present in the liquid and determined that the key ingredient in milk production was protein. Remilk recreates milk proteins by taking the genes that encode them and inserting them into a single-celled microbe, which has been genetically engineered to express the protein “in an efficient and scalable way”. The product is then dried to powder.
“We make dairy products identical to cow’s milk products, with the same taste, the same texture, the same extensibility, the same melting, cholesterol-free and lactose-free,” Wolff told Israel times. “In fact, we transposed the entire milk production mechanism to a single-celled microbe. We don’t need the “rest of the cow”, and we certainly don’t need to spend resources on the process of raising a 900-kilogram animal. »
This food production model will be up to 100 times more land efficient than the existing dairy system, 25 times more efficient in raw materials, 20 times more efficient in terms of time and 10 times more efficient in terms of water , he said .
“Depending on animals to produce our food is no longer viable,” Wolff said. “The implications of livestock are devastating for our planet.”
At the new facility, Remilk will produce its proteins for use in products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream, “in volumes equivalent to those produced by 50,000 cows each year,” the company said. The facility will be assembled as part of a network of ecovillages called the Symbiosis project.
Kalundborg Mayor Martin Damm said Remilk “fits our sustainability profile perfectly” and that of other park participants.
“When Remilk’s cowless dairy production facility is established, it will be the largest precision fermentation facility in the world. I see the municipality of Kalundborg’s choice of Remilk as an endorsement of our commitment to sustainability, high technology and education, as well as our ability to engage in constructive dialogue with our stakeholders,” said Damn.
Wolff said in Tuesday’s announcement that Remilk was “committed to reinventing our dairy industry in a gentle and sustainable way.” Eliminating the need for animals in our food system is the only way to meet the growing demands of our world without destroying it in the process. We aim to massively increase our production capacities to produce nutritious, delicious and affordable dairy products that will drive cows into early retirement.”
Remilk operates in the dairy alternatives market, which is expected to grow from $22.25 billion in 2021 to $53.97 billion in 2028, according to research firm Fortune Business Insights.
It differs from the plant-based milk sector, where beverages are made from soy, almond, coconut, oat, hemp and other non-animal materials.
The company raised $120 million in a funding round in January led by Hanaco Ventures, a venture capital fund based in New York and Tel Aviv.
Remilk has already raised funds from Israeli dairy company Tara and beverage company Tempo, among other investors.