FDA approves ImaginDairy non-animal milk proteins

Tamir Tuller and Eyal Afergan, ImaginDairy  credit: Eyal Izhar
Tamir Tuller and Eyal Afergan, ImaginDairy credit: Eyal Izhar

ImaginDairy is the third such company in the world to receive FDA approval, one of the others being fellow Israeli company Remilk.

Israeli foodtech company ImaginDairy, a developer of non-animal based dairy proteins, has become the third company in the world in this field to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval enables the company to start selling its products in the US.

The two other dairy proteins companies with FDA approval are US company Perfect Day and Israeli company Remilk, which received approval in June 2022.

ImaginDairy was founded in 2020 by its CEO Dr. Eyal Afergan, Dr. Arie Abo, and Dr. Tamir Tuller, with the support of Strauss Group’s foodtech incubator The Kitchen. The company specializes in producing dairy proteins without animals. The proteins are used to make a variety of dairy products, such as cheeses, yogurt, and ice cream.

The company has raised $30 million since it was founded. Among its investors are Entrée Capital, Target Global, MoreVC, and global food giant Danone.

ImaginDairy works on a B2B model, selling its products to other businesses. "Our end product is a protein powder that we sell to dairies around the world. We supply them with the powder, and help them to develop the product they are interested in developing. We are already at advanced stages with global companies, and I believe that in the coming year there will be products using our proteins on the shelves," Afergan says.

ImaginDairy has 35 employees, almost all of them in Israel, and Afergan says that the company has not been unaffected by the war, even though its Haifa location is fairly safe. Several employees have been drafted into the IDF reserves, while others are parents to serving soldiers. "We were all under the influence of the initial shock," he say, but adds, "I think that work has helped in attaining a little normality. Our company is structured in such a way that we have very strong teams, and when there’s a strong team, then if one is drafted into the reserves, the rest manage to cover for him."

According to the company, the proteins it has developed help in producing food products identical in taste, texture, and functionality to cow’s milk. In addition, as far as nutritional value is concerned, these products have an advantage in that they contain none of the unhealthy elements that exist in cow’s milk, such as cholesterol, lactose, and hormones.

ImaginDairy produces its proteins by means of a precision fermentation process using a fungus that has been used for hundreds of years to produce, for example, miso sauce. The company says that it products also have environmental advantages. According to Afergan, the company’s production process is environmentally friendly, because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and land use, and requires less water, in comparison with the animal-based dairy industry.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 7, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Tamir Tuller and Eyal Afergan, ImaginDairy  credit: Eyal Izhar
Tamir Tuller and Eyal Afergan, ImaginDairy credit: Eyal Izhar
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