Alt-cheese’s stretch-and-melt conundrum solved?

Jul 31, 2023 | Innovation | 0 comments

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An affordable alt-cheese that can taste and performs like the real thing may be achievable in a precision fermentation pilot, but the challenge of economic scale remains.

Precision fermentation has solved the age-old mystery of how to get melted alt-cheese to have that stretchy texture – but the next frontier is scale and price. The technology that replicates the casein proteins found in cow’s milk without involving a single animal is touted as the success story behind precision fermentation, and a breakthrough for cheese-loving environmentalists.

Alt-cheese makers Change Foods and New Culture both claim they can produce cheese alternatives that are just as good as real cheese in both taste and texture. Both companies manufacture casein proteins using huge fermentation tanks, with Change Foods’ chief marketing officer Irina Gerry saying there is just not enough of these tanks in the world to produce at scale. She estimates the tanks are as big as 200,000 to 400,000 litres. Currently, the company is building a 1.2m litre alt casein facility in the UAE which can help unlock scale, however, challenges still persist around precision fermentation at scale in terms of producing enough milk proteins in high enough quantity and increasing yield during the fermentation process.

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