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Agri food tech

Danone buys stake in animal-free dairy protein start-up Imagindairy

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2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Pink whipped cream in a bowl with half sliced raspberry cupcakes on table

Danone has partnered with Israeli start-up Imagindairy as a minority investor, to support its development of animal-free dairy ingredients made using precision fermentation.

The stake was bought by the company’s corporate venture arm Danone Manifesto Ventures. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Imagindairy and to help both businesses create and commercialise new products collaboratively.

Founded in 2020, the Israeli start-up produces animal-free protein ingredients, like whey and casein, which are bioidentical to those found in cow’s milk. It does so by using a proprietary computational technology which can boost the expression of milk proteins in microflora.

Responding to the news of its partnership with Danone, the company noted in a LinkedIn statement: “The investment is an incredible vote of confidence in Imagindairy and a great testament to the strength of our technology and the solid path we’re on to deliver new consumer products and experiences.”

“Danone’s business is rooted in science and research, which makes this investment an important milestone for our company.”

This is the multinational’s second investment in the animal-free dairy sector. Earlier this month, it contributed to cultured animal and human breast milk developer Wilk’s strategic investment round, to produce cell-based breast milk components for infant formula.

The partnership marks another achievement amongst many for Imagindairy. In 2021, the start-up secured $13 million in a seed funding round and an additional $15 million in an extended round last May, bringing its total investment to $28 million.

Earlier this year, the start-up also grouped together with several foodtech companies to form the US-based trade association Precision Fermentation Alliance, and an EU-based equivalent, to push for greater awareness and support of precision fermentation.

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