Change Foods says the $21.5 million now pledged in support is a record among a growing number of alternative protein startups developing animal-free dairy products.
The Australian-founded company is developing its precision fermentation process in Brisbane although its headquarters are now in California.
“Our mission is to transform the global cheese business with new products that deliver the indulgent taste and eating experience of traditional animal-derived products, but without the detrimental impacts of industrialised animal agriculture,” Change Foods founder and CEO David Bucca said.
There are several other Australian players in the lab-based dairy space including Eden Brew and All G Foods both also exploring the advances in precision fermentation to replicate milk.
All G Foods has recently received funding support from major supermarket chain Woolworths.
The over-subscribed funding round for Change Foods was led by Route 66 Ventures and included several large international and Australian investment funds.
The new company has also signed two strategic collaboration agreements, the first with Upfield, which is the world’s largest plant-based foods producer and leader in plant-based butters, spreads, creams and cheeses (Violife).
It has also signed a deal with Mexican food company Sigma, which has more than $6.7 billion in annual revenues selling cheese, yoghurt, and other categories.
Change Foods said the two agreements would “accelerate” its product development “as well as open the door to rapidly scale cheese production and distribution capability”.
The company says it wants to extend the precision fermentation process to create caseins without the cow.
Mr Bucca claimed out of all food products, cheese was third in greenhouse gas emissions behind beef and lamb.
Mr Bucca is also a board director of Melbourne’s “independent think tank” on alternative proteins Food Frontier which has riled Australia’s red meat industry recently for its views on food labelling.
Change Foods is targeting late 2023 for its initial US market launch.