With the world’s population projected to reach nearly 10bn by 2050, the planet “simply does not have the resources” to provide food for all its human inhabitants, opined Roman Buckow, Chief Technology Officer of All G Foods.
“We saw an opportunity to take the best that nature has to offer — in terms of cow’s protein — and complement it with science and cutting-edge technology to develop cultured dairy proteins via precision fermentation. The goal is to bring high-quality and tasty Australian-made dairy products to local and global consumers,” Buckow told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Backed by a team of scientists with years of experience in the field, the firm has raised AUD41m (USD33m) in the past two years.
“A good portion of the money raised has been used to build a world-class precision fermentation facility in Sydney. We will be spending a significant portion of the remaining funds for our R&D and upscaling process,” said Dr Jared Raynes, Chief Scientific Officer of All G Foods.
The firm’s key focus is on producing casein, lactoferrin and whey proteins that are able to replicate the taste and nutritional functions of dairy products.
“Although there are no finished products as yet, we hope to apply the proteins from milk to chocolate and everything in between. We aim to launch our first product in Singapore by the end of next year.
“The streamlined regulatory process in Singapore will help us bring products to market as quickly as possible. Also, the country’s ‘30 by 30’ initiative is an important stimulus for alternative protein companies like us,” Buckow revealed.
All G Foods’ first finished product and its format will depend on consumer insights research that the firm is planning to commence.
“We will be conducting surveys in Singapore, Australia, China and the US, to find out the main drivers of the dairy category in these markets, and whether consumers’ purchase decisions are affected by price points, sustainability labels, etc. Once we gather all these insights, the team will work on new product development for the specific markets,” said Renée Enman, Head of Communications & Corporate Affairs at All G Foods.
For instance, in markets with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance, the firm will tailor its products based on the needs of the local consumers.
“Our plan is to expand into Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Middle East as key markets in the near future. Over the next five years, we want to grow our technology and scale up production so that we can inspire new generations around the globe, particularly in APAC and possibly North America,” Buckow added.
Economies of scale
All G Foods believes that its “incredibly strong scientific and technical team” is what sets the company apart from other precision fermentation firms around the world.
“I have been working on precision fermented casein proteins for 10 years now. We also have Dr Carl Holt, who is considered the top expert in casein proteins with over 40 years of research experience, as a sole advisor.
“We currently have several pending patent applications. Notably, we have made terrific progress in producing lactoferrin via precision fermentation. It is a highly valuable protein found in very low concentrations in cow’s milk, which is extremely difficult to reproduce using this technology, so it really showcases our expertise and knowledge,” Dr Raynes shared.
According to Buckow, the edge which precision-fermented milk has over other milk alternatives is that it is made from actual dairy proteins.
“Alternative dairy is often perceived as just plant-based milk, but what we are doing has a very different narrative. We are not trying to convert a plant-based protein into a dairy protein. There are some great milk alternatives in the market, but none of them truly replicates the taste and function of cow’s milk.
“Precision fermentation technology offers the opportunity to create milk proteins that taste identical to and that have the same nutritional profile as regular dairy milk. It supplements the existing dairy industry with more sustainable dairy ingredients, and provides a means to greater food security in the future,” said Buckow.
When it comes to cost and pricing, Dr Raynes said that the firm’s first products are likely to be on the “premium end”.
“However, we are continuously improving our protein strains to produce more. As production capacity increases, the cost of production will fall. There will come an inflection point where the price of precision-fermented dairy could go below that of traditional dairy,” he added.