Saturday, April 20, 2024

CSIRO and Norco launch animal-free dairy start-up

New Australian start-up Eden Brew has revealed plans to launch animal-free dairy, starting with cow’s milk, using precision fermentation.

Formed by Norco, CSIRO and the deep tech venture fund it founded, Main Sequence, the company will develop animal-free, locally made dairy that’s “good for people and the planet”.

Using science from CSIRO, Eden Brew says it has found a way to produce the same proteins found in cow’s milk using precision fermentation, essentially enabling them to ‘brew’ their milk.

“Most of the protein in cow’s milk forms into tiny cages called micelles,” explains the start-up. “These cages are loaded with calcium designed to deliver nutrients to growing babies and they give milk its unique characteristics, including its white colour.

“Eden Brew has pioneered a way of creating casein micelles without the cow. The result will be animal-free dairy with a frothing, creamy, milky taste. It will have all of the good stuff, without the cow. No lactose, no cholesterol and low allergenicity.”

Funding, technology and expertise

Eden Brew was formed under Main Sequence’s venture science model, which starts by identifying a global challenge, and brings together science and industry to solve it. The company is backed by $4 million in funding, technology and industry expertise from Main Sequence, Norco and CSIRO.

Norco says it has backed Eden Brew as part of its ongoing commitment to being at the forefront of innovation and food science while building a secure and sustainable future for the co-operative’s 292 dairy farmer members.

Norco farmers are shareholders of Eden Brew. This means profits will go directly back to Australian dairy farmers so they can continue investing in their farms and support their local communities.

Eden Brew co-founder and CEO Jim Fader says that in order to meet the challenge of feeding 10 billion people sustainably by 2050, we need new and innovative ways of transforming our food system.

“The national milk production pool is continuing to drop due to the ongoing effects of droughts and high input costs,” he says.

“We need a way to make dairy that doesn’t involve more resources – more cows, more plants, more water. But instead, one that helps mother nature thrive, and supports our dairy industry for years to come.

“Every glass of cow’s milk has the perfect mix of proteins and nutrients to nourish us. We will be able to give consumers a new option by producing the same proteins that give our milk the same great qualities that we’re used to in our morning coffee and cereal. It has the same building blocks of cow’s milk, it’s just made in a different oven.”

Eden Brew is currently undergoing prototype testing at CSIRO’s Food Innovation Centre in Victoria and is expected to be in market with its first product in the next 18 months.

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