Startup brews cow’s milk alternative

It will look, act and taste like cow's milk, but is actually made from yeast.

While most dairy alternatives are made from plants, one startup called Eden Brew is preparing to launch a new type of milk that is both animal and plant free and similar to the original in taste, texture, and nutrients.

Eden Brew will commercialise the technology which was developed by CSIRO, a government scientific research organisation in Australia, and local dairy company Norco will make the product which is expected to hit Australian supermarket shelves towards the end of next year.

“We emulate the dairy experience without the cow,” Eden Brew says. “We will scale animal-free dairy product manufacturing to meet the growing demand for protein, sustainably.”

The production process is based on precision fermentation which is an extension of the traditional fermentation pioneered by the dairy industry for years to create cheese and yoghurt.

Precision fermentation will in this case start with a specific type of yeast that is able to produce the same caseins and whey proteins found in cow’s milk that give it its texture and frothing ability.

These proteins form the base and then minerals, sugars, fats and flavours are added.

It has the same building blocks of cow’s milk, it’s just made in a different oven

Jim Fader

Eden Brew co-founder

milk

Unlike cow’s milk, this dairy alternative is free of lactose and trace hormones and is cholesterol friendly and low in allergens, according to its creators.

Eden Brew co-founder and chief executive Jim Fader says, “Every glass of cow’s milk has the perfect mix of proteins and nutrients to nourish us.

“We will be able to give consumers a new option by producing the same proteins that give our milk the same great qualities that we’re used to in our morning coffee and cereal. It has the same building blocks of cow’s milk, it’s just made in a different oven.”

The technology is part of a ‘future proteins’ project by CSIRO to create $10 billion worth of new protein products and ingredients by 2027.

Eden Brew has $4 million to commercialise the product and is being backed by CSIRO, Norco, and venture capital firm, Main Sequence.

The tech:

Eden Brew’s dairy alternative was developed in the lab by yeast synthetic biology researchers at a biologics facility operated by CSIRO in Australia. The scientists begin with a yeast and then produce the same caseins and whey proteins that are found in cow’s milk, using precision fermentation. This, as the name suggests, is a more precise version of the fermentation methods used to make cheese, yoghurt, beer and wine. It enables the production of nature-identical casein and whey proteins, which are the same as those found in dairy milk. Eden Brew says that importantly, it has mastered the art of making the Casein Micelle, a complex structure that provides many of the important properties in milk, from binding and delivering calcium to withstanding heat.

Who funds it:

Eden Brew has $4 million to commercialise the product, backed by CSIRO, Norco, and venture capital firm, Main Sequence.

Is it ready to roll:

The cow-free milk is expected to hit Australian supermarket shelves towards the end of 2022.
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