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Cultivated Biosciences: Bringing Yeast-based Cream to Market as an Alternative to Dairy

Image Credits: iStock.com/AlinaValetka
By: Headliners News / March 11, 2024

Meet Cultivated Biosciences, a Swiss biotechnology food startup, who is on the brink of introducing its groundbreaking yeast cream to the market in 2025, a product set to revolutionize the plant-based and dairy-free alternatives landscape.

Unlike traditional animal-derived products that boast familiar tastes and textures, replicating these qualities with plant-based alternatives has proven to be a considerable challenge for many companies. Cultivated Biosciences, however, claims to have overcome this hurdle with its innovative yeast cream, derived from a specific type of oleaginous yeast. This yeast mimics the texture and mouthfeel of traditional cream, offering a satisfying creamy consistency without using real cream.

Back in 2022, the company secured a significant $1.5 million pre-seed funding round. During this period, they successfully developed a fat-rich ingredient with the desired texture and stability for dairy-free products, eliminating the need for additives while maintaining high taste quality.

Cultivated Biosciences relies on yeast biomass fermentation technology, distinct from precision fermentation that focuses on replicating proteins on a molecular level. This method utilizes the high-protein content and rapid growth of microorganisms to create protein-rich food, presenting a non-GMO and easily scalable alternative. Lucie Rein, the Chief Commercial Officer at Cultivated Biosciences, joined the company in March 2023, emphasizing the benefits of this biomass fermentation approach.

The yeast cream boasts a composition of fats, proteins, and fibers derived solely from the yeast. It features a unique “microstructure” of yeast lipid droplets, closely resembling milk fat droplets. The company is strategically designing its yeast cream for various consumer products, such as coffee creamers, milk, and ice cream.

In December, Cultivated Biosciences marked its public debut with a proof-of-concept coffee creamer, a challenging task that Rein describes as crucial due to the need to maintain the creamy consistency, taste, and color when added to hot and acidic coffee. The company replaced traditional whitening agents, offering a stable alternative for coffee enthusiasts.

Scaling up its production has been a priority for Cultivated Biosciences over the past year. From initially producing 5 to 10 liters of yeast cream in 2022, the company has ramped up its capacity to 1,500 liters, with the potential to reach 80,000 liters through collaborations with production partners.

While dairy alternatives continue to attract attention from entrepreneurs and investors, Cultivated Biosciences stands out with its recent $5 million funding round, led by Navus Ventures, along with participation from Founderful, HackCapital, and Lukas Böni, the founder of Planted. New investors, including Joyful VC, Mandi Ventures, and Zürcher Kantonalbank, also joined the round.

Currently, Cultivated Biosciences is engaging in discussions with food service companies as it targets a market launch in 2025 in the United States, pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Rein highlighted ongoing trials with major industry key accounts and expressed confidence that securing their approval will pave the way for collaborations with smaller, local U.S. companies eager to explore the innovative yeast cream in their products.

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