Vivici said its ingredient - described as a ‘nature-equivalent whey protein beta-lactoglobulin’ – will be brought to market in early 2024. The company expects to gain US regulatory approval around the same time and is open to collaborating with food and beverage makers willing to explore the animal-free dairy landscape.
“We are certainly on track, if not slightly ahead of our original timeline,” the company’s CEO Stephan van Sint Fiet told us of Vivici's progress so far. “We now have the ability to provide potential customers with food-grade sample material for evaluation."
Conceived as a joint venture between Fonterra and dsm-firmenich (at the time still operating as Royal DSM) with the aim to develop, produce and market fermentation-derived dairy proteins, Vivici now operates as an independent company. The start-up recently closed its seed funding round and looks certain to tap into the US market next year. However, despite the financial backing and expertise of two food majors, the company would be entering a crowded market where food technology companies such as New Culture, Perfect Day, NotCo, and Remilk are already vying for the attention of investors and food innovators.
“There is tremendous pull from the market,” Van Sint Fiet insisted, “and with approval in our hands by Q1 2024, we will begin to serve the demand that is out there.”
While refusing to elaborate on specific application types that are the focus of its R&D team, Vivici’s CEO said: “We have been testing our ingredient in our application labs in various product types and have seen this confirmed. Likewise, when talking to potential customers we see interest in the ingredient for a broad range of food & beverage applications.”
“We still believe that beta-lactoglobulin is an extremely versatile ingredient for a wide range of food and beverage applications.” – Stephan van Sint Fiet, Vivici
He added that Fonterra and dsm-firmenich are actively working with the company on identifying potential application niches. “dsm-firmenich and Fonterra are not just investors, but also partners in identifying interesting applications and in commercialization. We also see interest from food and beverage manufacturers, as well as upstream ingredient companies.”
The company is said to be ‘on track’ to scale production further during the new year. “We will ensure that our ability to manufacture keeps pace with the demand,” said Van Sint Fiet. “But we are also working on further ingredient development and will be able to say more about our future portfolio soon.”