Innovation That Matters

Soon you could be buying dairy-free, plant-based cheese from your local cheese counter | Photo source Change Food

Dairy-free cheese process uses fermentation

Food & Drink

An Australian company is using fermentation to produce dairy-free cheese that contains the same compounds as dairy cheese

Spotted: For many vegans, one of the hardest foods to do without is cheese. Packed with protein, calcium and umami, cheese is not only delicious, but it is very useful in a wide variety of dishes. However, the intensive dairy farming needed to make the milk used in most cheeses is harmful to the environment and animal welfare. Enter Change Foods.

While most vegan cheeses are plant-based and usually lack the texture, taste and properties of dairy cheeses, a growing number of vegan cheesemakers are using fermentation to recreate dairy products. Change Foods is one such company, which uses a technique called precision fermentation. This takes microorganisms that have been genetically modified to produce the compounds found in dairy cheese. 

The compounds can then be combined with plant products to make something that actually tastes like cheese because it contains proteins and fats identical to those found in dairy. Change Foods was founded in Australia, but has recently moved to San Francisco and acquired an angel investor — Simon Newstead, founder of the nonprofit vegan food project, Bite Society. 

Change Foods believes that the production of a tasty, dairy-free cheese is an important step in the creation of a more ethical food system. According to Change Foods VP Sacha Baker, “With unprecedented events in the world accelerating the need for changes to our food system, now and on the horizon, Change Foods believes it can lead the way by helping to transform the dairy industry and provide superior products the world knows and loves — with no compromise on taste, function, or texture.”

Springwise has previously covered a number of innovations that focus on vegan leather or footwear, but the number of vegan food innovations has also been growing: we have recently explored 3D-printed chicken and lab-grown kangaroo.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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