New Culture prepares to launch its vegan mozzarella in early 2024 at Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza, with other cheese formats to come. Using animal-free casein, the main protein responsible for cheese’s taste and texture, the company is currently producing only mozzarella, which exhibits “stretchy, melty properties.”
The company reported the large-scale production “reduces product costs by 80%, keeping the company on pace to reach its costs targets after having already exceed its core technical goals for 2023.”
With additional progress in production capacity, New Culture projects that its mozzarella “will cost the same as the conventional version, with annual, animal-free casein volumes that equate to more than 14 million pizzas’ worth of cheese.”
Inja Radman, co-founder and CSO, New Culture, said, “We are redefining the boundaries of what is possible in dairy in a way that is not being done anywhere else.”
As the company continues expanding its manufacturing capabilities, Matt Gibson, co-founder and CEO, New Culture, said that the industry is “entering an era where we can produce massive amounts of real cheese without the involvement of any animals”—highlighting precision fermentation’s impact on the $83.4 billion global cheese market.
“New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella requires a fraction of…resources…without the damaging environmental harm generated by factory dairy farming,” the company stated.
Price tops sustainability as purchase driver
For brands, the challenge with conscious consumerism—the buying practices driven by social, economic and environmental impact—is finding the complex balance between taste, function, accessibility and affordability. While consumers are more aware of the food industry’s impact on the environment, price drives most of their shopping preferences.
Innovations in precision fermentation and cell-cultured meat offer promising environmental and economic benefits to its animal counterparts, but they are not widely commercially available yet.
Most notably, Upside Foods and GOOD Meat’s USDA approval to sell cultivated chicken is a significant step, which will bear the same USDA seal as meat products. Yet both companies are now tasked with scaling up its facilities, processes and supply chains, while simultaneously launching smaller-scale processes for restaurants and events.
However, brands that are in the early stages of scaling still have an opportunity to position themselves as sustainable players by investing in environmentally-resposible practices and technologies, being transparent about their processes and efforts and communicating their values to consumers.