Dairy supply company raises $3.2m for expansion
Milk Moovement, which has developed cloud-based dairy supply chain software, announced the closure of a $3.2m funding round led by Dynamo Ventures, alongside Bread & Butter Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, and Better Food Ventures.
SOSV and Techstars provided follow-on investment in the round. Richard Cargill, a member of Cargill’s board of directors, is also a personal angel investor.
In addition, Milk Moovement CEO and co-founder Robert Forsythe said the company will be opening a new office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to further expand across the US as interest and demand for Milk Moovement’s software continues to grow.
Since its inception, Milk Moovement said it has realized a compound annual growth rate in its raw milk under management of around 117%.
“We’re excited to bring our solution to even more members of the global dairy industry,” said Forsythe.
“Our proprietary software tracks all milk shipments from producers to processing plants and delivers real-time quality and quantity information to producers, processors, transporters, and cooperatives. We have experienced tremendous momentum in our core software offering as clients see the benefits of digitizing and optimizing their dairy supply chains.
“At Milk Moovement, we are committed to helping the industry thrive by modernizing the antiquated dairy supply chain to make it more efficient, sustainable, and profitable for everyone.”
Cargill said, “The delivery of high quality, more nutritious, and even more efficient products is imperative for success in 21st-century agriculture. Milk Moovement is the dairy supply chain tool that will be at the forefront of the industry’s success. What separates this team from competitors is their empathy for the challenges faced by the industry and their relentless drive to create value for customers. It has been a privilege to mentor this team and I look forward to supporting them as they grow.”
“Dynamo reviews a huge number of startups every year that seek to modernize the food supply chain,” said Jon Bradford, Dynamo Ventures Partner.
“What stood out to us about Milk Moovement was the founders, their incredible long-term vision, and their engagement with the industry at many different levels. We wholeheartedly believe in the team’s ability to capture this vast market and bring innovative solutions to the dairy supply chain.”
Milk Moovement will primarily invest these new funds in product development, software enhancements, and international expansion.
New Sealed Air shrink packaging designed for circular economy
Sealed Air has developed a shrink-packaging solution designed for recycling to support food companies increasingly move to a circular economy.
The new Cryovac brand Designed-for-Recycling Standard Presentation Shrink Bag and Shrinkable Rollstock are the world’s first RIC4 coded heat-sealable food packaging materials, meaning they are 100% recyclable (the degree of recyclability of the final package depends on the specific product configuration or components intended for recycling and the scope and availability of appropriate local recycling facilities) to help food processors and retailers further improve sustainability.
The company said enhanced efficiencies and environmental performance can also be realized through the range’s thinner, lighter EVOH barrier and mechanical resistance. These features can help reduce packaging material usage and overall carbon footprint by up to 60%, compared to widely-used thermoforming packaging systems.
Ed Roberts, global sustainability leader at Sealed Air, said, “The Designed-for-Recycling Standard Presentation Shrink Bag and Shrinkable Rollstock have been designed to offer a total packaging approach to improving sustainability. The recyclability is complemented by high shrink, abuse resistance and barrier properties to reduce food waste, while also lowering sealing temperatures and energy usage during packaging.”
The new Designed-for-Recycling Standard Presentation Shrink Bag and Shrinkable Rollstock have been tested in accordance with protocols set-out by the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) and Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), with the 100% recyclability certified by Institut Cyclos-HTP.
Roberts said, “As well as meeting growing demands for increased sustainability, the Designed-for-Recycling packaging also satisfies other important consumer requirements. The sealed packs are easy opening, glossy with reduced haze and avoid discoloration of meats. Together, these performance properties help drive sales, which is another step towards less food waste and better resourcefulness.”
Operators can run the Standard Presentation Shrink Bags with a variety of heat-sealing equipment including Cryovac brand VR and VS vacuum lines, while the Shrinkable Rollstock is compatible with Horizontal Form Fill Seal technology and a range of other loaders.
“To build a circular economy, we need materials and processes that take a holistic view of sustainability. This approach is at the core of the new Designed-for-Recycling packaging, with advances in recyclability achieved as part of a solution delivering improved efficiencies and lower waste throughout the food supply chain, beyond the end-of-packaging-life stage,” Roberts said.
DSM solving carbon footprint challenges for cheese
Evandro Oliveira de Souza, business lead cheese at Netherlands-headquartered DSM Food Specialties, talked exclusively to DairyReporter about the challenges cheesemakers face when it comes to sustainability and reducing carbon footprints, as well as the integration of CSK, which DSM Food Specialties acquired in November 2019.
What sustainability challenges do today’s cheese producers face?
Cheese manufacturers are under rising pressure to increase the sustainability of their operations, while also diversifying and differentiating their portfolio to meet consumer preferences. Common challenges include:
Numerous factors can contribute to cheese waste, but cutting loss is the main consideration for naturally ripened cheeses like Parmesan and Gouda. It is estimated that Gouda and Parmesan producers lose 3 to 10% of cheese produced annually — approximately 220,000 tons — due to wasteful slicing, cutting, grating and shredding procedures1.
Cutting loss is predominantly caused by the removal of cheese rind. Typically, there are two reasons why manufacturers seek to remove cheese rind. During the ripening process, cheese is often treated with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) coatings to avoid mold growth, which are non-edible. Meanwhile, moisture evaporation can lead to the cheese rind becoming thick and dry during ripening, meaning that it subsequently cannot be consumed. In both cases, the rind must be removed before further processing. Manufacturers are therefore seeking solutions that enable them to ripen cheese effectively and more sustainably, and produce an end product that guarantees both consumer safety and acceptance.
Production efficiency and yield
The volatility of milk prices worldwide affects cheese producers’ bottom line. Many are therefore looking to find ways to optimize the use of raw materials to achieve maximum productivity and prepare for price spikes. For example, raw milk prices in Europe peaked in 2007, while prices reached an all-time low in 2008/20092.
Although volatility reached pre-2007 levels between 2009 and 2017, prices lost their previous seasonal pattern3. It is this unpredictability — which has only intensified since the end of dairy quotas in Europe in 2015 — that raises concerns among cheesemakers, with many looking to take measures to make their production processes more efficient and make more with less.
What solutions are available to manufacturers to overcome these obstacles? What advantages do DSM solutions have that enable companies to meet sustainability goals?
The latest cheese ripening solutions and coagulant enzymes can help cheesemakers overcome sustainability and production efficiency challenges. These include:
Pack-Age and Pack-Age Diamond
A preservative-free, breathable membrane technology, DSM’s Pack-Age solution can help producers pack and age hard and semi-hard cheeses effectively, without compromising clean label credentials, taste or texture4. It helps to prevent mold growth during cheese ripening and reduces the wasteful crust removal process. No coatings are applied and the moisture reduction develops homogeneously throughout the cheese to avoid the development of a thick, dry rind.
Ready-to-use membranes that can be implemented with existing vacuum systems, Pack-Age and Pack-Age Diamond – from the same portfolio – enable a manual to fully automatic operation — streamlining the ripening process and thereby increasing efficiency. While Pack-Age is suitable for all types of cheese, Pack-Age Diamond is specifically designed for round products. The innovative design of the latter membrane means it can be wrapped tightly around cheese with no ‘ears’, reducing the chances of residual air being trapped and creating a more appetizing aesthetic.
By utilizing DSM’s unique ripening technology, cheesemakers can increase the yield of cheese production and control moisture losses. Combined with a reduction in cutting loss, this enables manufacturers to produce up to 10% more cheese from the same amount of milk. Research suggests that if all Gouda and Parmesan cheeses globally were ripened using Pack-Age, 200,000 tons of cheese waste could be avoided every year — reducing milk use by 3.55bn liters and CO2 emissions by 6.2m tons annually5.
The most advanced Fermentation Produced Chymosin (FPC) coagulant available for cheese producers, Maxiren XDS is highly specific towards k-casein and can maintain low proteolysis for a more effective coagulation. This helps to speed up the production process and enables additional water binding to increase the moisture content of cheese, increasing yield by up to 1.5%, and ultimately, enhancing profitability6. Lower proteolytic activity also leads to better textural shelf life in cheese. As the texture of the cheese is retained, shredding, dicing and slicing can take place effortlessly at any point during shelf life which can help reduce the losses that occur during these processes by up to 15% and improve the carbon footprint of cheese production by approximately 12%.
As a global partner to valorize their milk to its best, DSM can provide cheese manufacturers with a broad portfolio of cheese ripening, coagulant enzymes, culture and biopreservation solutions for improving the sustainability and efficiency of cheese production, while also achieving stand-out taste and texture differentiation. Combined with DSM’s global end-to-end expert services, producers can create premium cheese products more economically and sustainably.
Are there any customer success stories you can share?
A western European cheese producer approached DSM for support with increasing the sustainability and efficiency of its Gouda production process. By implementing Pack-Age, alongside end-to-end support from DSM’s technical experts, the company was able to streamline the cheese ripening process and eliminate the risk of mold growth without the use of PVA coatings and preservatives. This allowed the customer to speed up production, eliminate the wasteful crust removal process and bring great-tasting, preservative-free Gouda products to market more cost-effectively.
How can companies that produce cheese continue to innovate and yet still work toward greater sustainability?
Despite economic uncertainty, cheese saw a spike in retail across the globe in 2020. While foodservice spend declined due to widespread bar and restaurant closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers spent more time cooking and eating at home – leading to higher volumes of cheese sales via retail channels. In the US, for instance, cheese retail sales grew by 10%, of which the packaged hard cheese category recorded the strongest growth at 15%7. This presents an exciting opportunity for producers to innovate and expand their product offering, and deliver compelling and more sustainable cheese products to consumers.