New Culture, a San Francisco-based start-up which produces animal-free dairy cheese, has raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round led by Kraft Heinz.
New Culture was founded in 2018 after graduating from the biotech accelerator program IndieBio, and the company uses fermentation instead of animals to make dairy proteins.
To make cheese, the start-up adds plant-based fats and sugars to the traditional cheesemaking process, in order to make dairy cheese that is “sustainable, healthy, ethical and indistinguishable from animal-based dairy cheese in taste, texture and function.”
According to New Culture, the company was founded to address two key problems, “the unsustainability of current dairy cheese production and the lack of companies working on a viable alternative cheese product.”
Inja Radman, New Culture’s CSO, said: “Fully plant-based cheese doesn’t work, and we know why. It lacks the crucial component which gives dairy cheese its signature properties, and that is the casein micelle, a supramolecular structure of dairy proteins that are found only in mammalian milk. We are developing the technology to make those casein micelles without involving animals in the process.”
Matt Gibson, CEO and co-founder of New Culture said: “It’s fantastic to have the support of our investors as we look to grow the company and scale New Culture’s unique fermentation technology.
“We want to disrupt one of the oldest and largest food industries in the world by producing a better dairy cheese for anyone to enjoy – whether you’re a cheese lover, lactose-intolerant, vegan, environmentally conscious or health-conscious.
“The capital, knowledge and network our investors bring to New Culture enables us to begin doing that.”
Kraft Heinz’s investment was made through its Evolv Ventures investment fund, established by the company last year to invest in emerging tech companies that are “transforming the food industry.”
Steve Sanger, a general partner at Evolv Ventures added: “We’re excited to lead the seed round for New Culture. We have been impressed by what the team accomplished during IndieBio in a short period of time and look forward to supporting their vision to produce animal-free dairy cheese.
“This is another example of our focus on investing in the leading companies across the food value chain.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019