New Culture Partners with CJ CheilJedang to Streamline Costs of Animal-Free Mozzarella

Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces a partnership with its previous investor, South Korean biotech giant CJ CheilJedang.

New Culture develops casein from precision fermentation to make cow-free cheeses that melt, stretch, bubble, brown, and taste like conventional cheese without the lactose, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics found in milk. 

The partnership will focus on reducing the production cost of New Culture’s casein to obtain a competitive price for its first product, animal-free mozzarella for pizzerias.

Seung June Choi, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at CJ CheilJedang, comments, “Since our initial investment in New Culture in 2022, the CJ CheilJedang team has continued to be impressed by the company’s technical progress, robust bioprocess, and global ambition in the animal-free dairy industry.”

Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces a strategic partnership with its previous investor CJ CheilJedang, a South Korean biotech giant.
© New Culture

Expertise to fuel growth

CJ CheilJedang, known for the food brand bibigo and the Schwan’s Company (pizza brand Red Baron), is a $23bn Korean conglomerate with 60 years of expertise in fermentation technology and millions of liters of fermentation capacity. It produces amino acids for food and feed, flavors, seasonings, and plant-based protein ingredients. 

CJ CheilJedang has invested in several alternative protein companies, including the US companies Plantible Foods and  Aqua Cultured Foods, and is developing bioprinted alt meats with the biomedical company T&R Biofab. The firm is also part of the consortium Skyviews Life Science, which invested in the Israeli biotech Aleph Farms.

Choi adds, “Whether through commercial manufacturing, procurement, or other technical support, this partnership enables the full scope of our expertise to accelerate New Culture’s growth and market leadership.”

New Culture announces that it has self-affirmed its animal-free casein as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).
© New Culture

Transforming the dairy industry

The collaboration with CJ CheilJedang aims to enhance New Culture’s manufacturing capabilities and path to profitability. The company has already achieved various manufacturing milestones as it continues to scale its capacity in preparation for an upcoming launch with James Beard Award-winning chef Nancy Silverton at her iconic Pizzeria Mozza this year. 

In February, the Californian startup obtained the world’s first GRAS status (Generally Recognized as Safe) for a precision fermentation-derived casein. According to the company, the GRAS status confirms that its casein is bioidentical to that of cows while validating a reproducible, industry-standard, and food-safe manufacturing process.

New Culture has also been backed by food giants Kraft Heinz and ADM, and VC firms Mayfield, Future Ventures, Ahren Innovation Capita, SOSV, and food investors S2G and CPT Capital  to “unleash a new delicious, nutritious, and planet-friendly era.” 

Inja Radman, New Culture’s co-founder and CSO, shares, “Our partnership with CJ CheilJedang facilitates access to some of the largest and most sophisticated fermentation facilities on the planet to truly transform the dairy industry.”

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