Hot on the heels of a $120 million Series B raise in January, Israel’s Remilk has announced ambitious construction plan: the precision fermentation dairy startup will create a full-scale factory on a recently acquired 750,000 square foot plot in Denmark, which would make it it the world’s largest animal-free dairy production facility.
No construction deadline has been floated, but when operational, Remilk’s new facility is expected to manufacture vast quantities of animal-free dairy proteins. The equivalent of 50,000 cows per year has been quoted. Projected construction costs have not been released. The finished plant will form part of the industrial Symbiosis project, a sustainable industrial development area in Kalundborg.
Removing cows from the dairy industry
“Remilk is committed to reinventing our dairy industry in a kind, sustainable way. Eliminating the need for animals in our food system is the only way to supply our world’s growing demand without destroying it in the process,” Aviv Wolff, CEO and founder of Remilk said in a statement. “We intend to massively scale up our production capabilities to make nutritious, delicious, and affordable dairy that will send cows into early retirement.”
The conventional dairy industry is rife with ethical and environmental drawbacks. For the animals involved, lifetimes of forced insemination, separation from their offspring and unsanitary, uncomfortable conditions are all guaranteed. Environmentally, the dairy sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative dairy is suggested as a solution to both.
Remilk uses precision fermentation to grow dairy proteins identical to those found in animal products. Cows are not needed in any way and the amount of resources needed to develop dairy products is minimal compared to that required to rear farm animals. The company was founded on the principle of entirely disrupting an archaic industry that it identifies as having a “devastating impact” on the planet. The company reached a valuation of $325 million, following its Series B raise, with projections to net $600 million in sales by 2026.
Remilk in good company
The Kalundborg Symbiosis project is a fully-fledged industrial ecosystem with sustainability running through its core. Within the project, like-minded companies are seeking to create viable alternatives to existing systems, that tread gently on the planet and its resources. Around a dozen public and private organisations are participating, with Remilk representing the potential future of dairy.
“We are not just dreaming big, we are acting upon our promise to dramatically reduce the food industry’s devastating impact on our planet,” Wolff said. “Ending animals’ historic role as providers of food for humankind is one of the most powerful measures we can take to reduce our impact on this planet.”
Denmark as a sustainability hub
The Danish location was selected for the construction of Remilk’s mega facility due to the surrounding project’s deep-seated sustainability commitments. As a country, Denmark is regarded as a leader in terms of environmental endeavours. Eighty percent of the country’s power is supplied by green and renewable sources, with plans to be free of fossil fuel dependence by 2027.
Access to a pool of potentially advantageous partners also contributed to the decision to move to Denmark, as did the government’s willingness to support burgeoning food tech.
“I am very happy to welcome Remilk to Denmark.,” Anne Hougaard Jensen, director of Invest in Denmark, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark said in a statement. “This investment is a recognition of Denmark’s position as a global leader in sustainable food production and innovation. Remilk brings important knowledge to Denmark in terms of research and development with food ingredients and dairy products. I am convinced that the opening of Remilk’s production facility in Denmark will be an important step towards an even more sustainable future for the food and dairy industry.”
The race to ditch dairy
There is no shortage of animal-free dairy innovation, with new startups such as India’s Zero Cow Factory and Spain’s Real Deal Milk using technologies such as precision fermentation and cellular agriculture specialisms to reshaping how milk is produced.
Lead image by Remilk.