The Israeli startup Remilk recently raised $120m to bring cow-free dairy to the masses. And, to make that possible, Remilk is today announcing that it will be building a 750,000sq ft facility in Denmark where it will produce dairy in a lab.
Remilk, founded in 2019, has figured out a way to produce the key functional ingredients of milk using a yeast-based precision fermentation process.
“Essentially what we’ve been doing, from very early on, is mapping out the different ingredients of milk and finding out what makes milk milk and what makes cheese cheese,” Remilk’s cofounder and CEO Aviv Wolff told Sifted last month.
According to Wolff, milk is full of hundreds of different compounds, but most of them are not required to make cheese or yoghurt. Remilk has isolated the necessary compounds and engineered yeast to produce them. In the process it has left out unwanted compounds like lactose and cholesterol.
Essentially what we're trying to do is to eliminate the economic incentive from using cows in our food system.
Remilk already owns a few smaller facilities and has also used other companies' facilities to produce its dairy products — however, these have not been on a large commercial scale.
Its new site, which will be about the same size as nine football pitches and the largest facility of its kind, changes that. Construction is anticipated to start by the end of 2022.
Remilk is tapping into a market that could be worth $290bn by 2035
The new facility will produce dairy products like ice cream, cheese and yoghurt equivalent to the amount produced by 50,000 cows a year, according to the company.
The market for alternative proteins could account for as much as $290bn (or 11%) of the global protein market by 2035, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corporation. Remilk is keen to be part of that and plans to price its products on par with what’s already on the supermarket shelves.
“We want to be more affordable, because essentially what we're trying to do is to eliminate the economic incentive from using cows in our food system. Ending animals’ historic role as providers of food for humankind is one of the most powerful measures we can take to reduce our impact on our planet,” Wolff says.
Remilk has so far shied away from the most common dairy product — milk — because it’s still heavily subsidised around the world.
“Milk is currently out of Remilk's focus due to the unit economics. The facility in Denmark with its production scale will enable us to reach cost parity, which means we'll be able to focus on all dairy products, even milk,” Wolff says.
That Remilk picked Denmark as the location for its first large-scale facility — which will be located within the Symbiosis project, a pioneering sustainable industrial ecosystem in Kalundborg about an hour’s drive from Copenhagen, is perhaps not that surprising.
Although some may think of Denmark as the country of bacon and hot dogs, it also has a large pool of local talent when it comes to foodtech. Along with the world-famous restaurant Noma and the MAD Symposium, there are also notable local startups like Simple Feast, Empirical Spirits and Too Good To Go.