Mylkcubator has launched as the world’s first incubator program dedicated to dairy alternatives produced using cellular agriculture technologies. The six-month program, open annually from 2021, is created by Pascual Innoventures, the innovation arm of Spanish dairy giant Calidad Pascual.
Pascual Innoventures has launched Mylkcubator, open to ten startups each year for a six-month hybrid incubation program focused exclusively on companies developing cell-based sustainable dairy alternatives. The program is described by Pascual Innoventures as the “first global incubation program for cellular agriculture technologies in the dairy industry”.
It will also be open to startups using cellular agriculture to innovate solutions to transform the dairy supply chain or challenges that the industry currently faces. Applications for companies, as well as spin-off ventures, research institutions and university teams, are now open online.
Selected startups will be able to test their products using Pascual Innoventures’ R&D technologies and facilities, as well as gain access to the Calidad Pascual group’s global network of mentors, food experts and partners.
Founded in 1969, the family-owned Spanish dairy giant currently operates six production plants, 27 local offices and has a presence in 63 countries globally. Aside from dairy products, the group also produces soy-based beverages under its Vivesoy brand, fruit juices and coffee drinks for foodservice and caterers.
Over the six-month program, participants will additionally meet “highly specialised professionals” and veterans within the dairy innovation space, allowing them to gain feedback and guidance across the entire product development process, from making prototypes to pilot testing and scaling up.
Commenting on the launch of Mylkcubator, Pascual director of innovation Gabriel Torres Pascual said in a statement translated from Spanish: “The entrepreneurial and innovative spirit is in our genes, it comes from the nonconformist attitude instilled in us by my grandfather, Tomás Pascual.”
“That which makes us dream big and dare to take risks, not only with our heads but also with our hearts. That same attitude is what makes us look and anticipate the future by betting on a project like Mylkcubator.”
Traditional dairy has been on the decline for years, but the consumer shift to dairy-free alternatives has picked up speed amid the coronavirus pandemic, with plant-based alternatives becoming one of the fastest-growing categories in the alternative protein industry, while cell-based alternatives have yet to debut on the market.
Sustainable food experts have long called for disruption in the industry, with the E.U. dairy sector alone contributing more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars and vans in the region combined, according to a recent Greenpeace analysis.
So far, only a handful of startups globally are using cellular agriculture to develop dairy alternatives, such as Singapore-based TurtleTree Labs creating cow’s milk and lab-grown human breast milk and Israeli publicly traded cell-based dairy food tech BioMilk.
British firm Moolec Science has also entered the cultivated dairy space, recently saying that they will be developing dairy and egg products using their hybrid plant-based and cell-based molecular farming technology platform.
Lead image courtesy of Pascual Innoventures.