Growing demand for dairy alternatives
Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable, plant-based or allergen-free alternatives to meat and dairy products. One in every six Australians consume dairy alternatives.
Most alternative milk products are made using plants, such as soy, almond or oat. They do not contain the same nutrients as cow's milk, nor do they taste like cow's milk.
Great-tasting dairy without the cow
Researchers at our Food Innovation Centre in Victoria are using expertise in flavour and texture to create animal-free dairy with the same great taste as milk but free from lactose free and cholesterol friendly.
Working with our yeast synthetic biology researchers and the National Biologics Facility, the scientists begin with a yeast and then produce the same caseins and whey proteins that are found in cow’s milk, using precision fermentation. It is these proteins that give milk many of its key properties and contribute to its creamy texture and frothing ability. The proteins form the base which we combine with minerals, sugars, fats and flavours and flavours to create a glass of 'milk'.
Precision fermentation is an extension of fermentation, which has been pioneered by the dairy industry for many years. Fermentation is how cheese, yoghurt, beer and wine are produced. In this case, the fermentation is more precise. With this process, our researchers can produce the same casein and whey proteins found in cow’s milk.
Finessing a product for market
A new start-up company Eden Brew launched in July 2021 to take the animal-free dairy product from the laboratory to consumers.
Eden Brew is backed by Norco, Australia’ oldest dairy cooperative together with venture capital firm, Main Sequence and CSIRO.
Once our scientists have refined the technology, production will occur as part of Norco’s operations. Eden Brew expects to have its first product on sale by the end of 2022.
This will provide another option for consumers in the growing number of alternative dairy products.
It also provides another source of revenue for the Norco’s 326-member dairy farmers so they can continue to invest in their local communities and shore up the future of Australia’s dairy industry for decades to come.
Eden Brew was formed through our Company Creation team and our Future Protein Mission.
Company Creation brings together the founders (science, investor, entrepreneur and industry) required to build companies that can take science and technology innovation to market at pace and solve big global challenges. A similar approach was taken in 2019 when plant-based protein company v2food was formed, backed by CSIRO science .
Our Missions program tackles big global challenges and our Future Protein Mission aims to grow Australia's protein industry by $10 billion by 2027.