The startup Real Deal Milk (RDM) has developed a production system for milk and other dairy products based on precision fermentation to avoid the intervention of the cows in the process. The company's goal is to create a substitute product for milk, cheese and yogurtr that it has the same biological properties, taste and texture as these products and sell it directly to supermarkets five years from now.
The process used by the startup is very similar to the fermentation that has been carried out over the years in the food sector in products such as bread or beer. In this case, it is based on the insertion of DNA particles from the cow into yeast cells for subsequent cultivation.
According to the CEO and founder of RDM, Zoltan Toth-Czifra, the process consists of "extracting the DNA of the cows and identifying the parts that expel casein and whey, which are the two large groups of proteins that their milk has." Once separated from the rest of the components, "they are introduced into the yeast and, through their cultivation in fermentation tanks, they are taught to grow and produce their own proteins, and then collect and purify them," he explains. Subsequently, the rest of the elements that make up cow's milk are incorporated, such as fats, sugar, vitamins and minerals.
According to the founder of the startup, "we have to get closer to people's habits and tastes, we want to offer an option that does not involve changes in the lifestyle of consumers, but that is better for the planet." In this sense, he explains, "we are in the R&D phase to improve the performance of the fermentation process, scale it up and be able to industrialize it."
Real Deal Milk has been a beneficiary of the Startup Capital aid from Acció, the agency for the competitiveness of the company of the Department of Business and Labor of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The startup has received 75.000 euros to promote its technology in the initial phase. In fact, the emerging company has just opened a financing round of 2 million euros that will be used to boost R&D activity and expand the laboratory, located in the Barcelona Science Park.
Real Deal Milk was born as a startup in February 2021 by Toth-Czifra. Currently, it has a team of 5 people and is part of the 1.900 startups in Catalonia.