OpinionJewish & Israeli Holidays

The land of milk and honey innovates the dairy technology sector

As Shavuot approaches, here are some Israeli tech companies “moooo-ving” the dairy industry into the future.

Illustration of dairy products for sale at a supermarket in Tel Aviv. March 20, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Illustration of dairy products for sale at a supermarket in Tel Aviv. March 20, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Alon Turkaspa. Credit: Startup Nation Central.
Alon Turkaspa
Alon Turkaspa is the agrifood-tech and climate-tech sector lead at Startup Nation Central, where he connects Israeli startups with global partners to address shared challenges and enhance Israel's tech impact on global solutions.

The Israeli agrifood tech industry has firmly established itself as a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, ranking second only to the United States. Alternative dairy technology is a growing subsector of agrifood tech that addresses issues associated with traditional dairy production, including environmental impact, animal welfare and health concerns.

Technologies in the alternative dairy space offer substantial benefits. These innovations replicate traditional dairy protein without the need to produce actual milk. They have the same taste and nutritional profile while reducing resource use and greenhouse-gas emissions.

By providing sustainable, ethical and potentially healthier alternatives, this technology is poised to transform the dairy industry, offering consumers choices that align more closely with modern values and ecological necessities.

Israel is leading this sector due to the synergistic relationship between academia and industry. Universities and research institutes across the country contribute cutting-edge research in food engineering to biotechnology, seamlessly integrating with robust Israeli agricultural practices and entrepreneurial ventures. This has led to a thriving community of more than 700 companies, each dedicated to revolutionizing the agrifood landscape.

Cows in Israel
Cows in a cowshed, southern Israel, Dec. 19, 2024. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.

As Shavuot—a holiday that carries with it a tradition of eating dairy foods—approaches, here are some Israeli tech companies “moooo-ving” the dairy industry into the future:

Remilk produces dairy products in a way that is healthy and clean, without cholesterol, lactose, hormones and antibiotics. Their method yields products that taste identical to conventional dairy, use significantly fewer resources and are 100% cruelty-free.

Imagindairy creates animal-free dairy products using fermentation. They combine a passion for dairy, concern for the planet and scientific expertise to produce dairy proteins that mimic the flavor, functionality, experience, mouthfeel and nutrition of traditional dairy. Their products are lactose-free, growth hormone-free and cholesterol-free.

PlantIfoods is committed to the universal availability of nutritious, accessible, plant-based products. They aim to transform how plant-based beverages are produced by offering natural, organic, non-processed and healthy beverages to everyone, regardless of economic means, allowing people to enjoy naturally delicious products.

Wilk, a pioneering foodtech company, develops technology to produce cultured cow and breast milk. Founded in 2018, it aims to produce milk that closely matches the composition of commercial cow’s milk but is free from synthetic or plant additives and contains lower levels of hormones and antibiotics than traditional products. Wilk is also working on creating a lab-made replica of breast milk, which includes complex carbohydrates that support immune system development.

Else is the world’s first whole-plant dairy and soy-free infant formula line. The product is made of 100% plant-based ingredients (major ingredients are almond and buckwheat). Around 95% of the world’s infant formula products are based on dairy, and their core ingredients are whey protein and skimmed milk powder. Else’s plant-based infant formula raw ingredients have about 65% lower carbon footprint than standard products in this industry (according to Carboncloud.com calculation and validation).

Alfred’s FoodTech is transforming the plant-based food industry with its advanced production platform. This platform enables the large-scale creation of delicious, 100% plant-based foods, optimized for exceptional taste and texture. Their technology specifically addresses the challenges of off-tastes in plant proteins and enhances protein content, meeting the specific needs of contemporary food companies.

MNDL Bio enhances protein production by optimizing gene expression using advanced algorithms and patented methods from professor Tamir Tuller, a leader in computational and synthetic biology. Their core technology integrates AI and Machine Learning with genomic Big Data to significantly boost the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of biological systems.

The tradition of eating dairy foods on Shavuot can be traced back to several origins, blending Jewish religious symbolism, historical necessity and mystical significance. This practice honors the biblical description of the Promised Land as rich with “milk and honey” and symbolizes nourishment essential to life like milk to a baby.

At Startup Nation Central, we recognize the critical role that Israel’s agrifood tech sector plays in addressing global food challenges, including those posed by dairy production. Shavuot is a wonderful time to pay homage to the Israeli tech companies who are creatively solving this issue by delivering healthy and sustainable food solutions to a growing global population. 

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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