This post was written by Lottie Savage from Real Deal Milk. This isn’t a sponsored post, but I did think this technology sounded fascinating enough to share, and wanted to hand the reins over to the experts. Enjoy!
Real Deal Milk is making real cheese worry-free
There’s a new player in the dairy game. It’s called precision fermentation.
This technology has the power to bring us animal-free dairy that will be indistinguishable from the cow alternative. Cellular agriculture has long been talked about in regard to meat (you may have seen discussions around growing steaks in a lab before). However, cellular agriculture dairy is the dark horse you might not know yet, but will soon win the race to the supermarket shelves.
Precision fermentation is at the heart of the Spanish startup, Real Deal Milk, who are on a mission to produce superior sustainable dairy and feed the world. Instead of cows, they utilise yeast cells and fermentation to create traditionally loved dairy products, but totally vegan.
We need change
Dairy isn’t known for its efficiency. Using a 700kg animal that eats plants to produce milk comes in at approximately 17% efficiency. When we think in these terms, it does seem like an odd approach.
Add to this the exponential levels the dairy industry has grown to in the modern world. Industrial agriculture has made the cows bigger and the space they live in smaller, used CAFO feeding systems that rapidly degrade land, created huge amounts of untreated waste (The amount of urine and faeces produced by the smallest CAFO is equivalent to the amount produced by 16,000 humans), and generated major methane emissions alongsider other chemicals.
All of this comes at a high price to the planet, animals, and human health.
- As our planet heats up, dairy farming is said to be responsible for 4% of greenhouse gases.
- Deforestation is causing widescale devastation and biodiversity loss, and the primary cause is industrial agriculture.
- We are facing a water crisis while it takes 144 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk
- Many people have become ill due to their proximity CAFOs, with some developing breathing problems, coughs, headaches, hydrogen sulfide poisoning, and ammonia poisoning.
We need an alternative.
Alternatives to dairy are bursting with many wonderful plant-based milk options. However, cow’s cheese has a skill that no plant can master. That melting, oozing, stretchy quality. The secret to this deliciousness lies in the proteins found in cows’ milk: casein and whey.
If we want our dairy to be just like cows’ then these proteins are the essential ingredient. This is where precision fermentation comes in, the technology can make casein and whey exactly as a cow would.
What is precision fermentation?
This might be the first time you’re hearing about precision fermentation. It’s remained pretty unknown, until now.
Companies all over the world are popping up and utilising this incredible technology, what may surprise you more is that it’s not brand-new. In fact, it already features in your daily life. Precision fermentation is used all over the pharmaceutical industry, in vitamin production and in enzymes for food production, such as rennet to make cheese.
How does precision fermentation work?
Precision fermentation is a technology which utilises cells and turns them into mini protein machines. By adding in the DNA of your required proteins, you are instructing yeast cells to make those exact proteins.
So to start, you take a copy of cows’ DNA, specifically the code for casein and whey proteins, which comes from a database (not a single cow is involved). Then you add the DNA into yeast cells. The yeast cells go into fermentation tanks, just like those used to make beer, where they multiply into many many more. These cells read the DNA and create casein and whey proteins. And there you have it, milk proteins ready to go.
Dairy has much more to it than just protein, including fats, sugars, vitamins and minerals, but these are far easier to source. Once you’ve rounded up all your components, they’re suspended in water. Recipe complete. You have milk.
Real Deal Milk’s first product will be skipping the milk and going straight to cheese. Because at the end of the day, everyone loves a bit of cheese.
Real Deal Milk
Real Deal Milk’s mission to bring you animal-free dairy was born when founder and CEO, Zoltan Toth-Czifra, wanted to allow people to indulge in delicious dairy products without worrying about environmental impact. It was also important to Real Deal Milk to hold onto Europe’s rich food culture, where dairy features heavily. After all, Spain wouldn’t quite be the same without manchego.
Real Deal Milk believes that technology may hold the answers to the major damage of industrial agriculture. All over the world, there are startups arising, using science and technology to create sustainable solutions. As our current food system generates one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, we need solutions to repair damaging approaches to food production. Real Deal Milk plans be there, at the forefront of the dairy revolution, playing a role in the evolution to a planet-friendly diet.
Precision fermentation can give us the food we love while protecting the planet and animals too. It gives us the best of both worlds and that is exactly why is it going to revolutionise the dairy industry. Just wait.