Bel Group bets on precision fermentation dairy in Standing Ovation partnership


Swapping animal-derived proteins with alternative protein sources has been a focus for a growing number of food scientists, manufacturers and consumers. In turn, the dairy alternatives market is projected to grow by more than 10% annually between 2022 and 2028, reaching a valuation of more US$31.5bn according to Facts and Factor.

And while plant-based dairy has been on the forefront of consumers’ minds when it comes to non-animal dairy products, precision-fermentation dairy has been gaining traction, too. The technology, which involves using microorganisms to express ingredients such as protein, can provide lab-grown dairy components that have the same nutritional quality and functionality to animal-derived ones, but without involving resource-intensive agriculture.

Whey and casein are the second largest segments in precision fermentation after enzymes. While whey is typically used in sports nutrition and food and beverage products, casein is highly sought-after by cheese manufacturers as it can provide superior stretching and melting properties to vegan cheese. If derived through precision fermentation, this protein could be used in the production of various types of dairy-free cheese that compares closely to the real thing.

Casein is the protein that Standing Ovation, a Paris-based start-up helmed by respected biotech scientist  Frédéric Paques alongside Romain Chayot, specializes in. The company has completed pre-seed funding and Series A funding stages and has also managed to create cheese with its lab-grown caseins. “We have already produced cheese mimics that look and taste like cheese,” ​the start-up told us earlier this month. “Our proprietary casein production process has proved to scale easily and has been reproduced at pilot scale by third parties.”


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