The investment forms part of Pascual and Eatable Adventures’ Mylkcubator initiative, which aims to support innovative projects within the dairy sector.
South Africa’s De Novo Dairy and Indian firm Zero Cow Factory were two of the four start-ups selected in the first Mylkcubator, in 2021, as part of a broader project to develop dairy alternatives.
De Novo Dairy and Zero Cow Factory both focus on the development of cell agriculture and precision fermentation technologies, to imitate dairy ingredients and nutrients through the use of microorganisms and alternative proteins.
Pascual noted that these initiatives complement the traditional dairy industry and help promote sustainable, efficient and healthy production models.
The manufacturer added that the investment in dairy alternatives increased from $194 million (€185.8 million) in 2020 to $605 million (€579.3 million) in 2021 – a growing sector with a $5.32 million (€5.09 billion) business value, according to Dealroom.
“Through these investments, we are seeking to establish agreements to launch new, innovative and useful products, which improve our customers’ quality of life and also enable us to enter new markets,” said Gabriel Torres, Pascual Innoventures’ director.
“Next to De Novo Dairy, we are going to explore lactoferrin […] a high-value protein, which is key in the development of babies and the strengthening of the immune system. With Zero Cow, we will work to synthesise casein, a dairy protein important to achieve good flavour and texture in cheeses and yoghurts of non-animal origin.”
In the second stage of the Mylkcubator programme – Mylkcubator 2.0 – five international start-ups were chosen to explore the use of new technologies to propel the agri-food industry, Pascual noted in a statement.
The start-ups selected include Israeli firm Maolac, Portugal’s PFx Biotech, Dutch firm Miruku, France’s Nutropy, and Argentinian business ERGO Bioscience.
“We are convinced that, through innovation and revolutionary food technologies, we will be able to face the current global challenges in the socioeconomic sphere and the agri-food sector,” added Torres.