Food Tech Company Aims To Create Dairy Cheese Without Using Cows

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
The cheese section at a grocery store.
Unsplash | Alana Harris

The past few years have seen a massive boom in dairy alternatives hitting not only store shelves, but pantry shelves too. Everyone has their own reasons for cutting back on dairy, but one factor that plays into many peoples' decisions is wanting to lessen the exploitation of animals.

There's a company out there with a similar mind. Better Dairy is trying to science up a way to create cheese that's "molecularly identical" to dairy but with zero cows being involved.

Better Dairy, a UK-based company, is looking towards the future of cheese.

Unsplash | Oriol Pascual

According to their website, their "products are molecularly identical to traditional dairy whilst removing animals entirely from the equation."

Their current goal is tackling the complex process of recreating what are known as 'hard cheeses', like cheddar, using precision fermentation.

And they recently received quite the amount of funding to do so.

Someone holding a fork lifting up a piece of melted cheese.
Better Dairy | Better Dairy

The company secured $22 million in Series A funding, which helped them bring their aged and hard cheeses into the testing phase.

The company was founded in 2019 by Jevan Nagarajah, and has since made strides in its goal to remove animals from the cheese-making process. This would not only be a victory in the realm of animal welfare but would also greatly reduce the environmental impact of the dairy industry.

Of course, they're far from the only company making cheese substitutes.

The cheese section of a grocery store.
Unsplash | Alana Harris

However, theirs is special because it focuses on making the cheese as similar to dairy cheese as possible rather than finding a different base. Their decision to take on the hard cheese process is unique too, as other companies tend to focus on easier, softer cheeses like mozzarella.

“We see limitations in hard cheese, similar to trying to create animal-free steak,” Nagarajah told Techcrunch. “By building a team that includes a chief scientific officer with 30 years of expertise making proteins for the pharmaceutical industry, we realized we could go complex and do it consciously.”

They already have plans for their funding so they can do more research and get this cheese to market faster.

A lab room.
Unsplash | Trnava University

Their goals include upgrading from an eight-person workforce to 35 people, as well as buying a bigger, 6,000-square-foot lab and office space.

Nagarajah is optimistic that they can narrow down the science and refine the process enough to allow their cheese to cost about the same as similar artisanal cheeses in the next 18 months.

Thankfully, they're not getting ahead of themself, remaining realistic in their goals of cruelty-free cheeses.

A display case of cheese.
Unsplash | Waldemar Brandt

As Nagarajah said, “We need the right space and equipment to upgrade our science. It is not just about being animal-free and sustainable, but also delicious. If it tastes better then it becomes a no-brainer and a benchmark for success. There is a benefit for doing it the right way because if not, the time it takes to unwind it all could take years.”

h/t: Techcrunch