Animal-free dairy round-up: Vivici, TurtleTree and New Culture

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags precision fermentation animal-free dairy Dairy Dairy alternatives Cheese lactoferrin Casein Whey protein

What's new in precision fermentation dairy?

Vivici, the start-up backed by Fonterra and dsm-firmenich, has launched a precision fermentation-derived beta-lactoglobulin isolate in the US. The ingredient, a whey protein, is now commercially available and has a self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. Vivici will compete with the likes of California-based Perfect Day and Israeli start-up Remilk, who also offer animal-free whey protein in the States.

Vivici’s beta-lactoglobulin is said to contain ‘all essential amino acids required by the human body, is abundant in leucine and branched chain amino acids, and is rapidly absorbed in the blood plasma’.

“We are producing beta-lactoglobulin which is the same protein the companies you mention are making,” Vivici’s Madison Clarke told us. “However, across suppliers there is always variation in protein purity, flavour and functional properties such as clarity in beverages or heat stability. We have a high purity ingredient that is competitively priced for use in applications in the active nutrition market such as RTM protein powder, RTD protein beverages and protein bars.”

Vivici has also scaled-up its manufacturing activities from lab to commercial-scale production with a recent tech transfer to 120 cubic-meter fermenter and is open to working with both US and European partners on commercial manufacturing, DairyReporter understands. The firm can also assist with application development and marketing, accelerating speed to market and de-risking product launches.

“We are focused on applications where our ingredient provides value to the customer with category advantage, ultimately allowing them to capture more value with their consumers,” Clarke told us. “We see opportunity in protein bars as our ingredient allows manufactures to make texturally superior protein bars, and in RTD’s where we have unique formulations in clear protein beverages.”

Vivici claims that consumers now demand sustainability from their favorite brands while also expecting delicious and nutritious products. But researchers have found that shoppers still need convincing in order to embrace precision fermentation-derived dairy, with many negative associations continuing to persist both in the US and in Europe.

Clarke told us: “Precision fermented dairy proteins as the core brand messaging needs to be executed with precision and a deep understanding of your category. Think of a consumer standing in the isle trying to comprehend the on-pack communications. One example of a company who we think is doing this particularly well is Bored Cow.

“The product identifier and brand messaging will be different across different categories. In many cases the protein source or technology is not relevant, consumers are interested in what is in it for them e.g. better nutrition, better sensory experience or lactose-free.”

Ginkgo Bioworks, the strain engineering, optimization and performance capabilities company that Vivici recently partnered with, has not been part of the development of this isolate, which was developed in-house by the start-up. “We are engaging with Ginkgo for other products in our pipeline to bring additional whey proteins produced through precision fermentation to market,” Clarke told us.

In other news, maker of precision fermentation-derived lactoferrin TutrleTree has achieved vegan certification for its animal-free product, LF+. “While most companies in the space state that their products are vegan and animal-free, almost none take the extra step of obtaining certification, enabling a third party to validate these claims,” said the company.

TurtleTree said that while precision fermentation-derived dairy doesn’t typically involve animal products or byproducts, the origins of the genetic codes required in production ‘can make interpretations complex’, particularly relative to what’s considered vegan. The certification was issued by Vegan Action, which certifies products that do not contain animal products or by-products and have not been tested on animals.

Meanwhile, New Culture, maker of precision fermentation-derived casein, has reported its ingredient has been self-affirmed as GRAS following a recent review by an independent panel of scientific and toxicology professionals. This means the company’s animal-free casein can be sold, used and consumed in the US.

Casein is the protein that gives cheese its distinct functional properties, such as ability to stretch and melt, and can improve protein content in dairy-free cheese alternatives. Last year, New Culture secured a partnership with Pizzeria Mozza, chef Nancy Silverton’s pizza restaurant franchise, which will be the first to offer dairy-free mozzarella made with the New Culture cow-free casein. The foodtech company said it continues to scale its manufacturing capacity in preparation for the first sale of its cheese later this year, at the LA-based Pizzeria Mozza.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Unlock the business potential of the protein trend

Unlock the business potential of the protein trend

Content provided by Valio | 08-Feb-2024 | White Paper

Read our white paper to learn how to overcome taste and texture challenges in protein products — and how to commercialise the protein trend by making delicious...

Custom Microbiome Solutions for Dairy & Alt-Dairy Products

Custom Microbiome Solutions for Dairy & Alt-Dairy Products

Content provided by ADM: Innovation that Feeds the Future | 13-Oct-2023 | White Paper

Backed by clinical studies and perfect for use in dairy and alt-dairy applications alike, ADM’s Active Lifestyle probiotic blend, BPL1™ probiotic, and...

Consumers Want Dairy—and More!

Consumers Want Dairy—and More!

Content provided by ADM: Innovation that Feeds the Future | 06-Oct-2023 | White Paper

In the thriving dairy industry, you’re well aware of the surging demand for both dairy and non-dairy products.

Related suppliers