If you’re a foodie, work in the food industry, or if you simply go grocery shopping, you would have seen the clear rise in plant-based products in the market, in particular milk alternatives. A few years ago there was an almond milk craze, nowadays it seems to be all about oat milk. Although plant-based dairy products are on the rise, there is a new player entering the field that might just be the future of dairy: cellular agriculture.
Before getting into the future of dairy, let’s take a look at some of the latest news in the current plant-based milk industry as we have seen an increase in investment into the sector. This boost was catalyzed by many reasons, including more consumer demand for alternative dairy as a result of the growing number of vegans or flexitarians looking for new product options and customers who want to contribute to a more sustainable way of living. It has been said that the coronavirus pandemic also played an important role in moving consumers towards a more animal-free diet.
Plant-based milk latest success stories
One of the most recent developments is about Oatly going public. Oatly has seen a massive growth in popularity and you have probably seen some of their bold and controversial ads around your city or on the media.
The Swedish vegan company went public on Nasdaq May 20 2021. The company’s initial public offering raised $1.4 billion and its share prices spiked by 30 percent on the first day of trading, now valued at $13 billion. Oatly made approximately $421.4 million in 2020, more than double what it earned in 2019.
Another plant-based milk brand that has been buzzing on the news lately is Vly, a pea-based dairy alternative. Certainly not as common as oat milk but already the 6th biggest plant milk brand in Germany, Vly raised €6.1M in a Series A round led by Five Seasons Ventures.
Five Seasons Ventures is the first Venture Capital fund in Europe only focused on investing in early stage food technology companies, aiming for a healthier, more sustainable and more efficient food system. They released this year their annual State of European Foodtech report highlighting what is new in the Food Tech space based on 2020’s data.
Back to Vly, we had the opportunity to speak with Nicolas Hartmann, managing director and co-founder, about Vly’s journey, growth plans and what’s coming next.
Let’s talk about cellular agriculture in dairy
Moving from plant-based dairy alternatives, let’s get into cellular agriculture.
Although plant-based dairy is a great alternative for consumers moving away from animal products, it lacks the sensory aspects from the animal counterparts such as the taste and texture. In order to achieve that but eliminating the need to use animals, precision fermentation became a popular and viable option. For example, Change Foods is a food tech startup focused on (re)creating dairy, animal-free. They harness the power of microbes to create real dairy proteins, fats and flavors via precision fermentation. Using traditional cheesemaking techniques they turn them into cheese that tastes, stretches, and melts just as you would expect. We spoke with newly appointed CMO, Irina Gerry, about Change Foods and how it fits into the dairy world.
Cell-based milk would be the step ahead of precision fermentation in the cellular agriculture sector. Cell-based allows for the development of real human breast milk, or animal milk, consisting of collecting a cell from the milk and reproducing it in a lab to obtain the final result we know well. Recently, BioMilk, an Israeli startup, went public showing the potential of this industry.
Just a few days ago, Pascual, a Spanish dairy giant, announced the creation of Pascual Innoventures, a different model of Corporate Venture Capital to develop the future of food, launched in partnership with Eatable Adventures, Mylkcubator, the first international incubator focused on the detection and development of highly innovative startups specialized in the application of new technologies to the dairy industry value chain.
Mylkcubator: The disruption of the Dairy Industry
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more about it directly from industry leaders, we invite you to join our webinar, Mylkcubator: The disruption of the Dairy Industry, on June 1st at 3pm CEST.
Register here: https://cutt.ly/Hne8GWT.