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Chilean food tech NotCo has just entered the U.S. market, launching its plant-based milk at Whole Foods locations nationwide. Unlike other plant-based milk alternatives on the market, the startup’s vegan-friendly milk alternatives in its NotMilk range are not derived from soy, almonds or rice, but are instead made from ingredients like chicory, cabbage and pea protein.
NotCo, one of the fastest-growing food techs in Latin America and backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has just brought its plant-based milk products to the U.S. for the first time. Launching at Whole Foods Market’s 500 stores nationwide, customers can now pick up both NotMilk 2% Reduced Fat and NotMilk Whole.
Like the rest of NotCo’s range of plant-based products, which includes mayo, ice-cream and burgers, NotMilk was developed using the company’s proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that helps formulate recipes that mimic animal-based foods using only plant ingredients.
When you think about the taste of milk, a human mind would never think that a combination of pineapple and cabbage could recreate the taste of milk, but Giuseppe – our artificial intelligence – can and does.Matias Muchnick, Founder and CEO of NotCo
By contrast to other plant-based milks that usually contain soybeans, oats, almonds and rice, NotMilk is made with pea protein, chicory root fibre, pineapple juice, coconut oil, cabbage juice and fortified with Vitamins B12 and D. Both NotMilk varieties are lactose-free, soy-free, gluten-free and GMO-free.
“When you think about the taste of milk, a human mind would never think that a combination of pineapple and cabbage could recreate the taste of milk, but Giuseppe – our artificial intelligence – can and does,” explains Matias Muchnick, founder and CEO of NotCo. “That’s the power of introducing a new technology into an obsolete system: you’re adding a whole new world of innovative possibilities that are good for us and the environment.”
By launching in the U.S., one of the biggest dairy markets in the world that has seen the downfall of big industry giants of late, the Santiago-based startup hopes to make the rising plant-based dairy trend a long-term reality. While some experts have suggested dairy could be wiped out altogether due to the coronavirus, according to NotCo’s research, nearly a third of all plant-based milk consumers in the country end up moving back to dairy due to compromises in taste.
“We are here to change that. There are many options in the market, but they miss something – whether that be look, taste or texture – but NotMilk has it all,” said Lucho Lopez-May, CEO of NotCo in North America, who formerly worked for food giant Danone.
The news comes shortly after the company closed an impressive US$85 million Series C funding round, which attracted major industry players including Bezos Expeditions, Future Positive and L Catterton and brought NotCo’s valuation up to US$250 million.
There are many options in the market, but they miss something – whether that be look, taste or texture – but NotMilk has it all.Lucho Lopez-May, CEO of NotCo North America
Outside of the U.S., the brand has a firm hold in Latin American markets, with their plant-based mayo, burgers and ice-cream available in supermarket chains in Argentina and Chile. It has also signed a landmark deal with fast food giant Burger King to launch in Brazil, the region’s biggest market and the world’s third largest consumer of beef, where food tech giant Beyond Meat has expanded to recently.
Looking ahead, NotCo announced in a press release that following on from its U.S. retail launch, it will be opening a new office in New York while maintaining its existing machine learning team that is partially based in San Francisco.
All images courtesy of NotCo.