The UK company is using fermentation technology to produce casein and whey, the two key proteins in dairy products

By Murielle Gonzalez

Better Dairy team
Better Dairy team in London

UK start-up Better Dairy has raised £1.6 million in a seed funding round led by Happiness Capital, including participation from alternative protein funds CPT Capital, Stray Dog Capital, Veg Capital, and a consortium of high profile angel investors.

Operating from London, the start-up uses yeast fermentation to produce whey and casein – two core proteins in dairy products. Co-founder and chief executive Jevan Nagarajah, told NutritionInvestor that the capital injection will allow the business to expand the team, improve the process and eventually bring the proof of concept out of the lab and into a large-scale facility next year.

“We’re looking to produce these proteins and potentially use them to use derivatives of dairy products, such as cheese and yoghurt,” he said, noting the focus, for now, is on bringing these proteins to market. “There’s a lot of different possibilities that one can do with them.”

Plans on the table are aligned with the company’s efforts to commercialise its first products by early 2022.

“Innovation in the dairy category is sorely needed,” said Lisa Feria, chief executive of Stray Dog Capital. “Better Dairy is bringing that innovation with a process and products that will deliver great taste, texture, and nutritional content without the pollution, poor animal welfare, and waste of dairy milk.”

The UK start-up is the most recent addition to Stray Dog Capital’s portfolio.

Better start-up

Jevan Nagarajah and Dr Christopher Reynolds founded Better Dairy this year. Alumni of Imperial College London, the duo went through the Entrepreneur First incubator programme where they received an initial pre-seed investment of £18,000.

Nagarajah has built a career in technology and over the past years has incubated and scaled companies across the UK and Europe, including experiences at Rocket Internet, SumUp, Ritual as well as his previous foodtech start-up ShareDining.

Better Dairy lab team

Chief technology officer Reynolds holds a PhD and post-doctorates across bioinformatics and synthetic biology, alongside a degree in natural sciences, spanning areas including chemistry and biochemistry.

“We’re hugely excited by what we’re building, and the promise that our technology has to radically improve production,” said Nagarajah. “What is even more exciting for us are the high-quality investors that we have on board to help realise our vision, alongside the great advisors and team that we continue to attract to the company”.

According to the Good Food Institute, plant-based milk accounts for $1.8 billion in annual sales and is the largest and most developed category within plant-based foods.

The growth across different plant-based dairy categories, including creamer, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream, milk, and butter, has significantly outpaced the growth of traditional products in each category.

Better Dairy is relying on the fact that its technologies will allow its products to have the same flavours, textures and nutritional profile of traditional dairy products while also having the environmental and animal welfare benefits of plant-based products.

Date published: 17 December 2020

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