Israeli precision fermentation start-up Imagindairy “treats new technology to leave cows behind”
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Imaginary is the latest to join the animal-free dairy movement, harnessing precision fermentation technology to create “real milk protein that cannot be distinguished from the real thing”. The Tel Aviv-based Food Tech says that thanks to “new milking technology,” it has recreated whey and casein without the cow, and this animal-free protein can be incorporated into a range of dairy alternatives, from yogurt cheese.
Imagindairy claims that its proprietary precision fermentation-based technology enables the creation of “like-to-nature” versions of whey and casein, two real dairy proteins that can be used to make a number of animal-free alternatives. The startup says their proteins are GMO-free, cholesterol-free and lactose-free, while providing the same texture, nutritional value and flavor as its true cow-based counterparts.
Compared to the traditional production methods of animal agriculture, Imagindairy’s process “drastically reduces” the burden on the environment. It has yet to provide details on the reduction in emissions provided by its precision fermentation method, but other food technologies using similar technologies have reported a significantly reduced footprint.
Animal-free dairy pioneer Perfect Day, for example, recently released its life cycle assessment, which showed greenhouse gas reductions of at least 85% and up to 97% compared to products. conventionally farmed dairy products.
Our vision was to provide an animal-free version of the main dairy proteins – whey and casein – that could allow product manufacturers to match real dairy products.
Dr Eyal Afergan, Co-Founder and CEO, Imagindairy
Imagindairy, based in Tel Aviv, uses a production method based on microflora which she describes as “inspired by nature”. He says his animal-free dairy products boast of the ssame nutritional composition as its conventional counterparts, from its protein content to mineral values, including calcium.
Existing plant-based products on the market, according to Imagindairy, have yet to win over die-hard milk and cheese enthusiasts looking for the texture, sensory qualities and taste of the real deal.
“Our vision was to provide an animal-free version of the main dairy proteins – whey and casein – that could allow product manufacturers to match real dairy products in terms of protein concentration, nutritional profile and sensory experiences. complete of animal origin. versions “, said Dr Eyal Afergan, co-founder and CEO of the startup.
“I can’t wait to be able to provide my kids with treats like a cup of nutritious and flavorful milk or creamy yogurt without the harsh impact on animals or the environment they must inherit. “
Afergan founded Imagindairy with Tel Aviv University professor Tamir Tuller during the height of Covid-19, a time when consumer awareness was rapidly growing about the dangers and volatility of the animal supply chain, as well as on environmental and health issues related to the production of animal feed. .
We have developed an advanced protein production platform that allows us to optimize every step of the creation of milk protein.
Professor Tamir Tuller, co-founder and CSO, Imagindairy
Building on Professor Tuller’s 15 years of experience and research in the field of evolutionary genomics, Imaginedairy – whose technology is led by protein biochemistry specialist Dr. Arie Abo – says its method of production can be integrated into existing dairy processing facilities, which shortens time-to-market and enables high production yields.
“We have developed an advanced protein production platform that allows us to optimize every step of the creation of milk protein,” explained CSO and co-founder, Professor Tuller. “This allowed us to achieve the yield necessary for commercial production. “
So far, the company is fueled by US $ 1.5 million seed funding from donors such as the Israel Innovative Authority, Kitchen FoodTech Hub, and alternative protein venture capital firms including CPT. Capital and New Crop Capital. As it expands, Imagindairy has revealed that it will ‘soon be entering’ another round of funding for its Series A.
Other players who are also using precision fermentation to create animal-free dairy products include Remilk, another Tel Aviv-based startup, US and Australia-based Change Foods, Berlin-headquartered Formo, the British company Better Dairy and These Vegan Cowboys based in Ghent, among others in the growing list.
Main image courtesy of iStock.