South African startup De Novo Dairy has secured an undisclosed investment from UM6P Ventures to produce animal-free dairy products that provide the same sensory experience and nutrition as their traditional dairy alternatives.

De Novo Dairy specialises in the production of milk proteins using precision fermentation of yeast strains. This technology allows them to extract essential cruelty-free milk proteins used within a wide range of products to improve and boost human nutrition. The startup targets various industries, including food, health, sports nutrition, and baby formula.

Compared to animal-based proteins, which have potential pathogen risks and are not perfectly designed for the human immune system, De Novo Dairy claims that its alternative will cost-effectively produce premium proteins that are animal-free and sustainable. 

According to research, precision fermentation has unique benefits and an impressive safety profile which has brought it traction in the alternative dairy sector. Compared to animal agriculture, this technology lowers emissions and substantially reduces the energy needed to produce proteins. It also eliminates animal welfare concerns making it an attractive alternative.

“Dairy alternatives have gained global traction over the last few years due to the health-related and environmental benefits they present. We are pleased to add De Novo Dairy to our growing portfolio of Deeptech startups, work with their talented management team and support them while improving the African food system,” said Ikram Labtaini, scientific development & operations lead at UM6P Ventures.

Speaking on the investment, CEO & Co-Founder of De Novo Dairy Jean Louwrens stated that UM6P Ventures shares De Novo Dairy’s vision of improving human nutrition while removing animals from the food chain.

“We are also thrilled to benefit from all of the support provided to help us accelerate both R&D and scale-up efforts and look forward to achieving future milestones together,” he added.

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