7. Better Dairy

No more Dolly and Daisy needed; Better Dairy is making the same cheeses, yoghurts, and ice creams consumers love without the use of farm animals.

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Founders: Jevan Nagarajah and Christopher Reynolds
Year founded: 2020
Website: betterdairy.com

Here’s a devastating fact to ruin your next trip to the local supermarket: it takes 650 litres of water to produce just one litre of moo juice. Things aren’t much better over in the cheese aisle, where one kilogram of cheese can require up to 10 litres of milk to produce.

All of this contributes towards a shockingly high carbon footprint. But for years, even if they wanted to find them, shoppers had minimal alternatives to the big dairy brands, especially since non-dairy cheeses are yet to crack the unmistakable umami of the real deal. Thanks to our seventh top startup, UK consumers finally have a better option: Better Dairy.

The company is on a mission to make dairy products that use 90%+ less CO2, water and land, while removing animals entirely from the equation. To do this, it uses a process known as precision fermentation, which involves reprogramming microorganisms to manufacture casein, an important milk protein.

With Better Dairy's product range, everyone can enjoy old favourites like cheddar, parmesan, and stilton – even those who are lactose-free or vegan.

Similar to the craft beer connoisseur in neighbouring Hackney, Better Dairy then ‘brews’ its casein by combining it with water and sugar. The end result is a delicious cheese that melts, bubbles, and stretches – all without the impact of farming animals at an industrial scale.

The process also means that Better Dairy’s dairy-based products are free from lactose, antibiotics, and hormones. This means everyone can enjoy old favourites like cheddar, parmesan, and stilton – even those who are lactose-free or vegan.

While low-emission, plant-based ‘dairy’ already exists on the market, Better Dairy says its creations surpass oat, soy, and nut-based rivals for both taste and texture.

Other dairy products, like ice-creams and yoghurts, will soon follow its cheesy first wave.

Historically, the US and Asian markets have driven innovation in the fermentation tech space while Europe lagged behind under regulatory red tape. But, Better Dairy is leading the farms race in the UK, having raised $22 million in Series A funding in 2022.

Currently still in the R&D phase of its product development, Better Dairy aims to become the first brand to launch a range of animal-free hard cheeses within an imminent timeframe. Other dairy products, like ice-creams and yoghurts, will soon follow its cheesy first wave.

Precision fermentation is poised to be a game-changer for the dairy and vegan industries, and Better Dairy is right at the apex. This makes it a natural choice for our top 10 startups for 2024. Better Dairy means a better planet, and a better future for us all.

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