U.K.-based startup Better Dairy announced today it has raised £1.6 million (~$2.1 million USD) in seed funding for its animal-free dairy production. As first reported by TechCrunch, the round was led by Happiness Capital with participation from CPT Capital, Stray Dog Capital, Veg Capital, and undisclosed angel investors.
Better Dairy says it will use the funding to increase R&D efforts of its animal-free dairy production, which uses yeast fermentation and biology to produce dairy products that are “molecularly identical” to dairy made from animals. Speaking to TC, Better Dairy cofounder Jevan Nagarajah likened the process to beer brewing, with the end result being “large vats of dairy instead of beer.”
The company has produced its first lab samples. The big challenge, Nagarajah said, will be scaling up manufacturing capabilities in order to create a product that has price parity with traditional dairy.
That’s a challenge a growing number of companies are tackling right now. But while there are plenty of plant-based options available right now (and relatively comparable in price to traditional dairy), 2020 has also surfaced a number of companies making dairy in the lab. Perfect Day, which uses fermentation to make animal-free dairy microbes, is probably the most well-known name at this point in that area. The company already has a product, Brave Robot Ice Cream, in the market via its Urgent Company imprint. Remilk, which just raised $11.3 million, is based in Israel and also uses microbial fermentation to make cow’s milk without the cow.
For its part, Better Dairy hopes to commercialize its first products by early 2022. Longer term, the company has big plans for food products outside of dairy.